This Little Light of Mine

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Living Stones Series: First Published in All Around Old Bridge Publication – December 2016

By Pastor Lloyd Pulley

“I am looking for a great warrior!” 

Addressing an odd-looking, sickly green and wrinkled creature, Luke Skywalker announced his quest to find the mighty leader of the Jedi.

Never in that galaxy far, far away did Skywalker imagine that the very same puppet-like creature was the mighty Yoda of the Jedi.  Luke’s notion of what greatness looked like simply did not match up with this little green Yoda!  

Stories of heroes and villains, of underdogs overcoming mighty opponents, have always intrigued us. Whether it’s a tale of Spiderman, Batman, or some other comic book or film hero, we are drawn to accounts of seeming nobodies rising up and saving the day. Perhaps this fascination is built into our very genes.  We relate to the weak and want to be strong. 

Consider the Christmas story as a perfect example.  Here’s a poor, no-account, unwed teenage mother, her humble carpenter fiancé, and a newborn baby in swaddling clothes huddled in a barn.  From all outward appearances, nothing great was happening here.  

Born amidst the stench of farm animals to a nameless family of possibly questionable morals, this baby probably wouldn’t amount to much.  And yet, according to the Bible, this very same frail baby was the mighty savior of the world.

In the Bible, heroes often come from the most unexpected places.

David was the smallest and youngest in his father’s house.  The prophet Samuel was impressed by his older and bigger brothers until God Himself reminded Samuel, “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” David, a mere shepherd boy, was anointed king!

Consider the Bible character Gideon. The Angel of God found Gideon fearful, hiding from the enemy of their nation, and yet the Angel addresses him as “a mighty man of valor.” To that, Gideon must have thought, “Who me?” Still, God called terrified Gideon to rise up and deliver the nation.

According to the Bible, God sees greatness man does not see and chooses the foolish ones of the world to put to shame those who think they are better and wiser.  

This is the account to ponder at Christmastime.  This newborn baby was actually a king who traded His throne in Heaven for a barnyard-feeding trough (that’s what a manger is, by the way).  

The era into which Jesus was born was a dark time for Israel.  They were oppressed under Roman rule and many looked forward to the coming of the Promised One who would set them free.

The problem was, the Promised One did not come as they expected.  They imagined a mighty warrior, like Luke Skywalker did, but got a poor baby in a manger instead.

And yet, this little light began to shine.  We are told, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it… (Jesus) was the true light which gives light to every man coming to the world.”

As Jesus grew and shined brighter, many did not accept him as the anticipated Messiah because he was not what they expected.  They were unimpressed and underwhelmed by this weak Man claiming to be the Deliverer.  

On the other hand, kings overreacted to Him. For fear of losing his kingdom, the proud King Herod ordered all male babies near Bethlehem killed. The light that came in the darkness simply was not understood or received.  Christ’s birth and life was a tiny little light, nearly snuffed out.

The entire scene reminds me of the song “This Little Light of Mine” that I grew up singing in church as a child. I was raised in a broken home, troubled growing up, disappointed and severely depressed in my first term of college and yet, something began to shine in me once again. I began to read the Bible, learning about incredible heroes who all began with so little, and yet amounted to so, so very much.

Have you ever seen what happens when you light a match in pitch-black darkness?  One tiny little match can create a whole lot of light.  One little match can kindle one incredibly strong fire.

This Christmas season, let’s take that truth to heart.  The world around you may see you, or perhaps you see yourself, as not amounting to much.  Maybe you don’t have an important job, lots of money, strong relationships, or great success.  

But consider how God might see you, how much He thinks of one person, how much your life does matter.  The classic film It’s a Wonderful Life depicts the story.  A deeply depressed man whose career was failing was reminded how much his life mattered, how much darkness his little light had dispelled.  

That’s how God sees you. That’s how He saw these Bible greats I have mentioned, like David, Gideon, and greatest of all Jesus.

One little baby changed everything.  One tiny little light became the very light of the entire world.

Aaron Salvato