Have you ever wondered why we take the time and make the effort to light the church with Christmas Lights? Have you wondered whether we should? Is it the right thing to do? Is it Biblical? After all isn't it just a secular retail marketing ploy to make a profit out of this special season. And hey, after all it's another import from the USA!
Our RNWM tradition of lighting up the church actually starts before we had the building. From the earliest days of the church we would light up the nativity scene outside Nigel & Julia Harkness' home (ask them about the "one that got away"). I'm not sure if it was a definite church decision to do this or whether we took advantage of Nigel & Julia's generosity and shared in their expression of the light but either way that's when I trace it back to anyway. :)
When we purchased this building it seemed only logical to move that display here (btw - the nativity scene we use now was made by our youth, and Janet Jackson at the beginning of this century with grants from the then Manukau City Council, and since then has been maintained by Janet for us).
Lighting the church at Christmas shines the light of Christ into the world. As the children head to & from school, as people walk by, as they drive by in their cars, and as parents park in our carpark to drop off and pick up children they are drawn to the lights and to the nativity scene. It is a reminder of the real reason for the season - the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and our Saviour. That is why this year the nativity scene is at the front of the carpark facing up Diorella Drive where it can be seen more. That is after all our focus. The lights are great (actually I think the display this year is the best we've ever done) but it's the light of Jesus Christ, and the good news that Jesus birth brings, which is the focus.
I encourage you to encourage your friends & family to come and take a look - and take the opportunity to tell them the story of Christmas - the real story of Christmas. Why not bring your children down and tell them the story of Jesus birth gathered around the nativity scene?
O and is it Biblical to light up the church - well I think you know the answer ... Yes. We are called to bring the light of Christ to this fallen world.
Pray with me that the lights will attract people and they will sense and respond to God drawing them to himself.
Have a blessed and awesome week -
being intentional in ... love, ... in celebrating the greatest gift God has given us - his son Jesus Christ, and ... in generosity