When the Lights Go On
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It's one of those magical Christmas moments - not just for New York City, where it happens, but for millions across the country who watch it on TV. Each year Rockefeller Center puts up a massive Christmas tree, you know. And for a while, it just stands there in total darkness. And then, in that special Christmas moment, the lights suddenly go on, the tree comes to life, and the celebrating begins.
I have seen that happen - I mean the amazing illumination that can happen to lives. It's the illumination that happened to my life, many people I've known. Inside, where no one else can see, there was this darkness, this loneliness, this confusion about what life is really all for. And, then the lights went on and everything changed.
The difference was Jesus. It has been for millions of people all over the world for 2,000 years. And he wants to be that for you. Our word for today from the Word of God, Matthew 4:16, spells out the promise of His coming this way: "The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned." Light that is greater than the darkness of our sin, our depression, our shame, our loneliness.
And light that is greater than the darkest darkness we all face - the darkness of death. Even there, this light triumphs. I've seen it at the bedside of loved ones who are dying with Jesus there. I've seen it at the funerals where grieving loved ones radiate this hope that is just humanly unexplainable. A friend of mine said once, "If people who don't know Christ want to understand what our Jesus is all about, let them come to our funerals." The light Jesus brings is strong enough to light the way from our last dark moments on earth into the glorious light of His heaven.
Because Jesus loved you enough to pay for your sins on the cross, He can now lift the heavy burdens of your past. He can erase every sin from God's book and declare you forever forgiven. He can give you the security of knowing that you will spend eternity in heaven - because the only thing that could keep you out is gone - your sin. When you open up your life to Jesus, the wall between you and God comes down and you begin to understand the reason He put you here. He lights up a road that has been so dark before. What seemed so meaningless is suddenly illuminated with His eternal purpose. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12).
The miracle of the lights going on in your life begins when you give yourself to Jesus - who gave everything He had for you. If you're ready to move out of the darkness, if you're ready for this awesome new beginning, you need to tell Jesus that. You can tell Him, "Jesus, I've done it my way long enough. It's time I started doing it Your way - the way I was made to live. My only hope is You, Jesus, and what You did on the cross for me. Today, I'm giving myself to You to do with my life what I could never do."
I tell you, I'd love to have the opportunity to encourage you as you reach out to Jesus this Christmas season. What a better time could there be than this. You reach out to him to begin a personal relationship with Him, the one that He promised He'd give you. Now, if you visit our website, you can read or you can listen to a simple explanation of how to be sure you really do belong to this Jesus. The website is yoursforlife.net. Or maybe you'd rather just get my free booklet Yours For Life. We'd be glad to send it to you, all you have to do is call us toll-free and ask for it at 877-741-1200.
Look, it's been dark long enough. It's Christmas - it's time to let the lights go on.