First Christmas Lights
We decorated the outside of our house for Christmas for the first time this week. The house was vacant for some time before we came, just like the pulpit at our church was empty as they waited for a pastor. As we stood back after dark and looked at the bright Christmas lights, I commented to Adam that I couldn’t believe how much darker it was out in the country than the city. I thought, “I hope people will drive by and see these lights on a corner that used to be dark, know we’re here now, and feel welcomed.”
Yesterday we invited some girls from the neighborhood over to decorate cookies for our church’s Christmas baskets. My heart just aches to build relationships with these sweet girls and see them have strong relationships with Christ. I took them home after several hours of crazy, messy, giggly, wonderful fun, and after we got our kids in bed Adam and I collapsed on the couch to watch a Christmas movie.
An Unexpected Guest
Shortly after it started there was a knock on the door. Adam opened it and invited in an obviously tipsy man, who told him he was upset with someone in town and was headed out to confront him. “I was walking over there, and someone was going to end up in the hospital or the morgue,” he said, “But then I saw your house and thought, I’m going to go talk to the pastor. So I turned around.”
Adam talked with him for a good while. The man confessed to drug and alcohol use (both of which are significant issues in our community).
As they talked, the man went from angry to crying. Adam listened, shared scripture with him, and invited him to come to church in the morning. He said he didn’t want to because he didn’t have clean clothes, and Adam assured him he would be welcome. When they finished talking Adam gave him some food, and the man turned to go.
The last thing he said before he left was, “Your house ain’t lit up for no reason. Your house is lit up for a reason.”
The Reason Behind The Christmas Lights
My advent devotional this week has been talking about how Christ is the light sent to a dark place. “Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4-5). That is what we are praying that our lives will be–lights that beckon people to come near and meet Christ.
It’s not always comfortable. It was exhausting getting ready to have a bunch of girls come over, and much messier than it would have been if I’d just decorated the cookies myself. But those girls have captured our hearts; we just love them to pieces already. It’s not comfortable having a drunk man who confessed to “smoking something funny” earlier and says he “always carries a knife” standing in your living room while your kids are sleeping just a room away. But after this man left, we put two and two together from some things he said, and we suspect he was heading—drunk and angry—to one of these little girl’s homes. While we hope his threats were empty, we are still so very thankful he turned around and followed the Christmas lights to our house instead.
Will you pray for this man, these girls, and our whole little town? Pray that Rock will soon be able to say, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” (Isaiah 9:2-3).
Adam and Tamara Hamill are Village Missionaries at Rock Bible Chapel in Rock, MI. They began serving with Village Missions in September, 2016, and they are the first Village Missionaries to Rock, MI.
Please feel free to share this bulletin insert, “Aint Lit Up for No Reason” (a story of Christmas lights) with your church congregation or anyone you feel may benefit.