Light in the darkness

Kitty Williams, Director of Music Ministries

St. Francis of Assisi once said, “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”

The Christmas eve candlelight service is one of my favorite activities for Christmas celebration.

I remember the first candlelight service in our sanctuary at First United Methodist Church Garland. I think it was 1973.

Back then, there were no safety lights, no glow of cell phones and only boy scouts carried pocket flashlights.

So when the lights were out in the sanctuary, it was really dark!

Back then on Christmas eve, near midnight, after the Christmas story was read, after carols were sung, the sanctuary lights were dimmed and only the lone Christ Candle glowed.

The pastor then recited John 1:1-5:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God.

All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.

What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

It always amazed me how that single Christ Candle lit the whole sanctuary.

Then as we sang Silent Night, the sanctuary illumined even brighter and brighter.

And finally on the last verse, everyone lifted their candles so that the light became even more brilliant!
Our first Christmas eve Candlelight service began our years-long tradition, which offers the same message of light and life.
The Light came into the world! 
We sometimes take for granted the power of lighting a candle in the dark.

A single light allows us to see everything more clearly.

With Christ’ light, we can have hope.
In Jesus, life in the light of God’s grace, this abundant life of peace, hope, joy and love is given. 
I want to see the brightness of God. I want to look at Jesus. 

Clear sun of righteousness, shine on my path, and show me the way to the Father. 

In him there is no darkness at all. The night and the day are both alike. 

The Lamb is the light of the city of God. Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus. 

I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light
Verse 2
United Methodist Hymnal #206

Let’s be the light

Eldred Marshall, Artist-in-Residence, Associate Director of Music Ministries

This Christmastide, I opted to do something a little different. For the first time ever, I’m actually marking the 12 days of Christmas.


Because I want to enjoy the light for as long as I’m allowed!

In the mess that was my life towards the end of 2019, the one thing that kept me sane was our emphasis on “light” throughout Advent and Christmas.

More than once in the course of our December worship services, my mind wandered to the scripture “You are the light of the world … ” (Matthew 5:14).

Just yesterday during my workout, the verse (paraphrased) popped up in my head: “You are the salt of the earth – what good are you if you’ve lost your flavor? … ” (Matthew 5:13). 

Salt and light – two timeless metaphors that will remain with us until Jesus returns. Why are these verses so critical to us in this time?
In my almost 40 years on Earth, this is the first time I’ve seen “grown-ups” collectively dread a new year. And for good reason.

From implementation of the Traditional Plan and what that means for The United Methodist Church, its universities and our local church …

to the 2020 US presidential election and all it entails …

to Brexit and all that may entail for the global economy …

to issues more personal like aging parents or health worries …

We have plenty on our emotional plate.

This on top of whatever other curveball life may throw our way in our lives.
The world is in a period of darkness. It needs God’s light.  
God’s light is inside of us as Christians. We are that light.
Through faithful prayer and Bible study, we can keep our oil replenished so that our light shines brightly. This way, a weary world can enjoy the light.
May we keep the faith and draw closer to Him in this New Year.
Let’s be the light. And still, Merry Christmas!