Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. [Isaiah 60:1 (NIV)]
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. [John 1:4-5 (NIV)]
Although we were at a hockey match last Friday and missed seeing the lunar eclipse, I certainly didn’t miss seeing the moon. Waking in the middle of the night, I saw its brilliance through the window; it was so bright that I got up to make sure we hadn’t left on any outside lights. Nothing was on; it was just the beautiful glow from February’s full moon.
Saying I saw the moon’s light is actually a misnomer—the moon itself has no light and doesn’t glow. It just borrows its light from the sun and reflects it down to us, much as a mirror would. It isn’t even a very good mirror. With its dark grey surface and bumpy landscape, the moon only reflects between three and twelve percent of the sunlight that hits it. Even that little bit, however, was enough to brightly light our lanai.
Since that night, I’ve been thinking about how we are told to let our lights shine. Like the moon’s glow, the light in us is not ours—it is God’s Holy Spirit within us. As Christians, we are to let God’s glory reflect through us. While we can’t light up a lanai, when our actions, attitudes, and words reflect the nature of Christ we can light the world around us. When people experience our love, compassion, forgiveness, gentleness, joy, peace, patience, thoughtfulness, integrity, faithfulness, and self-control, they will see God’s beautiful light.
In Matthew 5, Jesus tells us to let our lights shine so that people see our good deeds. Even if we shine as brightly as the full moon, like the moon, that light isn’t ours and we’re not the ones who should get the credit. Let us never forget that our good deeds are done not to enhance our reputations but rather to glorify our Father in Heaven. It’s His light that is seen and not ours.
Interestingly, even if the moon was perfectly white, it still wouldn’t appear as bright as the sun because the light would reflect off in all directions instead of straight back to us. According to astronomer Roger Sinnott of Sky & Telescope, the only way the moon could ever appear as bright as the sun is if a 2,160-mile-wide flat mirror was placed on the moon that would directly reflect the sun’s light back toward us on earth. Jesus was our equivalent of Sinnott’s enormous mirror when He lived as a man and only He could reflect all of God’s glory. As followers of Christ, however, I think we could do a great deal better than the moon’s paltry three to twelve percent when it comes to reflecting God’s glory in our lives!
Heavenly Father, may we always reflect the light of the Son and may the glory be to God!
We are indeed the light of the world–but only if our switch is turned on. [John Hagee]