Guest Blogger: The Rev. Scot Ocke, District Superintendent, Maumee Watershed District, West Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church & Lakeside Chautauqua Board Member
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (2) He was with God in the beginning. (3) Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (4) In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. (5) The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (6) There was a man sent from God whose name was John. (7) He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. (8) He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. (9) The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. (10) He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. (11) He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. (12) Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– (13) children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (14) The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The One who created everything was created as a tiny baby. The One who was all powerful became defenseless. The One who provided for the whole world depended on sustenance from others. The One who was worshipped on mountains and at altars was not recognized. The One who created light became the Light of the World. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world (v9).
All around us are lights; Christmas lights. Lakeside’s lights are so beautiful, and we marvel at our neighbor’s creativity; we love the lights. The lights bring the joy of the Christmas season. But what does Jesus’ light do for our souls?
Light helps take away our fear. I don’t know about you, but this world scares me sometimes. Sometimes I’m afraid of cancer; sometimes I’m afraid of war. Some of us are afraid of being alone in life with no one to love or be loved by.
But when I see how God has arranged the cosmos and set everything into motion – How the heavens declare the glory of God – I see His order and am less afraid. When I think that God has given us Christ and how He died and rose again, I realize I have nothing to fear. Jesus said, Whoever follows Me will never live in darkness but will have the light that gives life.
When the Light touches us, it shows us how to live. Maybe the Wise Men were the first to recognize that. They didn’t know where it would lead, but in faith followed that Star to the birthplace of the Eternal One, and they knelt down and worshipped Him. As they reached out to touch the baby, God touched them. They gave gifts of appreciation and admiration and then went home a different way; different people who knew how to live for God.
I travel a different way because of Jesus in my life. Jesus said, I am the way the truth and the life, nobody comes to the Father but by Me (John 14:6). Jesus knows the way and teaches us how to live.
Jesus calls us to be Light to others. Just as those Christmas lights light up Lakeside, Jesus calls us to be light to others. To lead them into the light, to lead them to Jesus so they do not have to be afraid, so they can know how to live. Jesus said, You are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14).
Kate Walker was living in Sandy Hook, N.J. when she first met Jacob Walker. He was the keeper of the Sandy Hook Lighthouse. They fell in love, and he took her there as his bride. She was so happy there at Sandy Hook because she and Jacob were in love and the lighthouse was on land. In addition to helping him with the lighthouse, she also kept a garden and raised vegetables and flowers. It was a wonderful life.
Then, Jacob was transferred to Robbins Reef, a lighthouse in the ocean and surrounded by water. At first, she refused to unpack her trunks and boxes because she was upset about the isolation. But over time, little by little, she unpacked, arranged, decorated and settled in.
She loved Jacob dearly, and each day she helped him with the lighthouse duties, and she became as proficient at the job as he was. They both knew full well how the ships at sea depended on them. In their line of work, they were saving lives daily by warning the ships of danger and guiding them to safe harbor.
One day, Jacob caught a cold while tending the light. His cold turned into pneumonia. Eventually, he became so ill that it was necessary to take him to the hospital where he could receive better care. There was no one else to tend the light. He urged Kate to stay at the lighthouse and continue his work. She wanted to go with him to the hospital, but he insisted that she stay behind to mind the light. Reluctantly, she agreed. His last words to here were, “Mind the light, Kate.”
A few nights later, while Kate tended the light, she saw a boat coming. Something told her what news it was bringing; that something was so very wrong. She could feel it in the air, and she braced herself for the news that reached her from the darkness: her husband was dead. After the funeral, Kate stayed on at the lighthouse
She wrote, Every morning when the sun comes up, I stand at the porthole and look towards his grave. Sometimes the hills are brown, sometimes green, sometimes white with snow. But always they bring a message from him, something I heard him say more often than anything else. Just three words: “Mind the Light.”
God has given us His light. We are called to mind it for our children, our families, our community, our world and for our God.