January is a time of year where we really need to lighten up. It’s cold outside, and this year it’s really cold. We get only a small amount of daylight. The bills from this past Christmas keep coming. There are a lot of people struggling to keep a smile on their faces. We need some joy in our life. We need to lighten up!
As a Christian pastor, I run into many people struggling with their emotions. They may be having trouble at work, at home, at school or in their neighborhood. They also may be having trouble with their health. One of my jobs is to help them see the light at the end of the tunnel. I want them to see troubles will pass, and good things are usually just right around the corner.
But this is not an empty ploy of mine. It is the truth that comes from God. As Christians we believe Jesus Christ is the “Light of the World.” Because we know Jesus loves us, and has given Himself on the cross to pay for our sins, we believe our past cannot haunt us. In addition, we believe Jesus is ruling in all authority right now, and that means everything. This is very helpful because sometimes it seems that our world is bent on destruction. But Jesus will provide for us.
In many of our Christian churches, January is in the season called Epiphany. Epiphany means “showing or manifesting.” Each Sunday, we remember the power Jesus showed as He was baptized, as He changed water into wine, and as He taught the crowds about the real meaning of life. Jesus was really shedding light into the dark places of life.
It’s also helpful to know that people back in Biblical times were often going through many of the same difficulties we do today. They had bills to pay. They had children to raise. They had jobs that didn’t always work out. They had trouble in their marriages. Yet Jesus always brought life, and hope, and meaning for them. That doesn’t give us a reason to just sit back, do nothing, and wait for those good things. But, it does give us a good reason to lighten up.
You might know someone going through one of those dark moments in life. They may be struggling with a difficult situation in their home life or work life. They may not know what to do. I encourage you to bring some light to their life. Visit them. Remind them you love them. You might also pray with them, and remind them that God loves them. God also welcomes them to bring their troubles to Him. I encourage you to invite them to come to church with you. Worship in a Christian church has a wonderful way of shedding light in a dark place. The message of Jesus brings hope for every situation of life.
On a personal note, in just a few weeks I will be moving to Muskegon, Mich., as I have been called to be the pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Muskegon, Mich. It has been a real pleasure to help shed the light of Christ into the Lansing and Northwest Indiana area these past years.
I hope all of you look to lighten up other people’s lives not only in January, but throughout the whole year.