Let your Light Shine:
Creating the Calm in your Christmas Chaos
By Dr. Maya Angelou
Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Flood waters await us in our avenues.
Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche
Over unprotected villages.
The sky slips low and grey and threatening.
We question ourselves.
What have we done to so affront nature?
We worry God.
Are you there? Are you there really?
Does the covenant you made with us still hold?
Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.
It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.
Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.
In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now. It is louder.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.
We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.
We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.
Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
Implore you, to stay a while with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.
It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.
On this platform of peace, we can create a language
To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.
At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ
Into the great religions of the world.
We jubilate the precious advent of trust.
We shout with glorious tongues at the coming of hope.
All the earth's tribes loosen their voices
To celebrate the promise of Peace.
We, Angels and Mortal's, Believers and Non-Believers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.
Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.
t’s Christmas time. The most wonderful time of the year…And yet, for many of us, it can be a very crazy, busy, and sad and lonely time of the year. It’s not easy to stay still and focused, as we look hard for the little light inside us. Don’t spend your Christmas all tangled up in tinsel and tasks –take some time to find that inner calm at the heart of your Christmas chaos. We need to let our inner light glow and grow from a spark into our very own bright light.
Because of Hurricane Harvey, other hurricanes, wildfires, terrible floods, snow storms and other natural and man-made disasters, so many of us are still virtually homeless. Tossing and turning in and out of homes and beds, looking for a place called “home” we ultimately realize that we carry “home” with us –always. Home truly lives in our hearts.
“For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’, made his light shine on our hearts to give us the light of knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” - Corinthians 4:6
I helped my daughter Claire put up a tree in her empty home that’s not yet ready to live in. Her #homeforChristmas is not going to happen. Not for her, her husband or her new born babe – born the day after their home flooded. Nor will I be home for Christmas, as I gifted my home this young family my home. While we won’t be in our homes for Christmas, we will all be together. We will celebrate with family and friends and enjoy sharing special time together. This year we lost my father in law, my children’s grandfather, my mother in laws soul mate of 62 years – but sweet Charlotte was born. Life is bitter and sweet. We are grateful to be together and to sit in the glow of a candle with laughter and tears because it is all about love! Our lights will be shining so brightly!
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
We know life is short. We know it is fleeting, and yet we also know we have a responsibility to keep the peace, to grow the flame of light inside us, to hold hands, to share hugs, and to live. To live a life of light, to help others that surround us and to hold them up in our love, our light. To live a bright life full of light and wonder – a flame we need to learn to nurture from within.
“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” --Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
This Christmas, I’m calling you to action. If you are lonely, or alone, or crazy busy with all the chaos, promise me you will stop, take a moment to step back, breath three deep breaths, focus and move forward. Get a hot chocolate, take a walk, read a poem, sing a carol out loud, help someone around you that could use a hand. Do something to stop the crazy madness inside you and lean into your light and your life. It will enrich you. It will move you. It’s ok to hurt, to cry, to feel, because it means we are still alive! We hurt because we loved. Make a choice to take a chance and make a change. Go ahead--Let your light SHINE:
Share: Spend some time in peaceful, calm centering prayer; listen to the still quiet voice inside you. Thank God for all you have and be glad for the joy feel from appreciation. Set the world on fire with your love light!
Help: Do something for someone else. It helps you get out of your circumstances. Donate gifts of food, toys, or volunteer. Spending time with someone that would love to see you is the best gift of all. Be a blessing to someone else.
Inspire: Encourage others around you! Be the light you hope to see in others. Act on your gratitude and share with others; a smile, a word of encouragement, a secret surprise for someone anonymously. Let your light shine through you.
Nurture: Take some time for yourself; hot bath with candles, festive holiday music, read a special book that warms the heart, schedule some quiet time doing something you enjoy! There are so many ways to share your light but we must keep the flame bright inside us!
Enjoy: Drive around and look at the Christmas lights, listen to a holiday choir, attend a special service or event, schedule time to spend with family and friends; enjoy special holiday treats – When was the last time you had a hot chocolate? No matter where we are or what trail we are going through, we can always choose joy!
I know that little light in you is ready to shine, to grow bigger and stronger, and to light your path to your new life. I promise it is there, deep inside you, waiting for you to bellow it bigger and bigger and bigger until you can see it and you can share it. It will keep you warm. It will help others. It will lead you on your path. Just let it shine. Let your light shine!
“You are a light,” she replies gently. “And when you shine, you shine bright.” ― Marie Lu, The Midnight Star