As I enjoy my first autumn in North Central Florida, I notice the various ways the sunlight shines into the house and when. In this season before we return the clocks to Standard Time, sunlight creeps into the bedroom a little later in the morning and casts sharper angles into the living room in the evening. The sun glows in a pale, blue sky with fluffier clouds than it did in the sticky summer humidity as it sets across the neighborhood pond.
When I was a little girl, before I knew about hemispheres and Greenwich Mean Time, I thought the light went out when it disappeared and I could no longer see it. I imagined that somehow it needed to be turned on, re-created anew every morning, to depart all over again at night.
Sometimes, I think that’s how it is for us, also. We mistakenly believe that we need to create our light. We forget that we’re already bright, shining lights because no one ever told us that we are divine creations of God, an infinitely compassionate, unconditionally loving creator. And maybe no one ever told us, as Jesus the Christ told his followers, according to the Gospel Writer called Matthew in “The Sermon on the Mount”: “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” Jesus also tells his followers that they, and we in turn, are to let our light so shine before others, so they may see the glory of God we are.
How much differently might we choose to live if we truly believed that we are a light of the world? What would it take for us to shine the light within us? The truth is, each of us is a light in this world. And we don’t need to search anywhere outside ourselves for this light; it isn’t something we have to create. It’s what we are and we’re born with all we need.
What Jesus reminded his followers, and we can remember also, is to shine our light as the divine expressions of God we are. We do this by faithfully and courageously sharing our unique character and passion for life. We’re not meant to hide our lights under baskets because our light represents our greatest physical, mental, emotional and spiritual gifts. Our light reflects all the energy, creativity, love and joy within us.
And while some people may want to stamp out our light or put a lampshade over our heads, that’s about them, not about us. To anyone who doesn’t want to see our light, I say, “Then put on your sunglasses.” The good news is, we don’t actually have to create the light. Instead we shine the light we are, radiating as vibrantly as the brightest star in the night sky, as gloriously as the noon day sun.