“Treasures of Darkness” illustration by Gary Gaede

Advent Day 11 – Wednesday, December 12

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12

Several years ago, my husband and I attended a funeral of a prominent figure in our community. We did not know him well but felt the need to go. As his son gave the eulogy and his tribute, he talked a lot about all of things his father had accomplished, family memories, and the many ways he had taught him and his siblings. He recalled one of the things he remembered the very most. It was something his father told him repeatedly through his adolescence and into adulthood. He paraphrased, but said the essence of his father’s life lesson was, “Don’t blow out someone else’s candle to make yours shine brighter. You will go through many things in your life, but you always have a choice on how you treat people.”

The son continued to say that, “I have used this life lesson with my friends, my co-workers, my family, and even with strangers. It is powerful, and it works. Build people up! Don’t cut them down.”

This resonated with me, and stuck. It was such a powerful visual image that has stayed with me since that day. I repeatedly tell my kids about this son’s comments and remind them to not blow out candles…help make someone else’s candle shine brighter.

We have all been in the darkness or shadow of someone else. We all have struggles. We all have been lost, hurt, lonely, and felt despair. It is how we handle it and how we help others in their struggles that make us shine brighter.

Lead someone out of the darkness. Be a friend…do what Jesus would do. Help them shine. Help them out of the dark and into the light!

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31

Dear Lord, we pray for empathy and kindness. Lead us out of darkness, to follow you and your light. You are the light of the world. In Jesus’ name, amen.