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Be the Light

In the beginning of the Apostle John’s story of Jesus, instead of a manger and angels, we find a “light that shines in the darkness.” Both of course tell the story of the incarnation; physically speaking, Christ was born into a feeding trough, surrounded by the smells and sounds of a barnyard. And spiritually speaking, in the midst of great darkness, by a radical act of grace, a light began to shine.

This was not a light of the full splendor of heaven— it was a small light, else there would have been no darkness left. Were it the full glory of heaven being revealed, there would be no need for John to mention that the darkness had not overcome it. Yet it was still a light, and every year as we celebrate this baby in the stable, we are reminded that whatever the darkness, hope has been born in the midst of it.

As parents and teachers it can be easy to feel small when faced with the challenges of trying to “raise children in the way they should go.” And it’s probably pretty honest to feel that way — at the end of the day, we are all pretty small, and terribly limited. Yet Jesus in the manger was also small, and on this small baby, this little light, all of history has turned. Is not the Kingdom of God like a mustard seed?

Our ministry, as parents and teachers, is incarnational. We are Christians— little Christs. As such it is our sincere hope that we might live in such a way that our children find in us the truth, and goodness, and beauty of Christ. And whatever the darkness may be, his light, and us, his little lights, still shine— and the darkness has not overcome it.

Michael Eckhardt
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