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A Great Light

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“Well that should do it for out here.” Paul shoveled the last of the snow on the walkway. “Do you suppose there’s much to be done inside?”

“Does it really matter? I don’t think anyone is going to show up.” Luke looked at the sky. “The storm coming is supposed to be a bad one.”

“It won’t start for a few hours. When it gets underway, we can close up.”

“No seriously man, why are we opening the food bank this morning? I doubt that anyone will show up and most of the town is closed because of the weather.”

“But what if there is someone?”

“I suppose.” Luke sighed. “Last time I was in, the donations from before Christmas were still being sorted and of course the boxes for today need to be prepared.”

“Then let’s get on with that.”

Inside with their coats off, Paul put the unsorted donations on the counter. “Don’t you just love this time of year?”

“Love it?” Luke grabbed an empty box and put it in front of his friend. He started stacking the donations on a shelf behind them. “I can’t wait for winter to be over.”

“No, I meant the season after Christmas.”

“Why would I love the season after Christmas?” Paul frowned. “I mean we have decorations and good will and everything that comes with the holiday and then it all stops. Now there is nothing but months of nasty weather and Christmas bills to pay on top of that.”

Paul shook his head. “But this is the time when we get to live out the promises of Christmas.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean this is the coldest, darkest time of year and like you said people are down and basically just trying to get through until springtime.” Paul paused to help Luke lift a bag of flour onto the shelf. “So, this is when we really have the chance to shine with the light of Christ.”

Luke considered his friend. “I’m still not making the connection to Christmas.”

“Do you remember that verse from Isaiah that talks about ‘the people walking in darkness have seen a great light’ and ‘on them light has shone’?”

“Yeah.”

“Well during the excitement and good feelings of Christmas, some people hear that message and maybe it makes a difference in their lives.” Paul added some more cans to the shelf. “But in a time where people are struggling, are finding themselves discouraged, then the light really makes a difference. Let’s face it -- the good news is all about the change which God is bringing about through Jesus.”

“Okay I can see that.” Luke frowned. “But what does any of that have to do with us opening up the food bank on a nasty day in January when the weather is going to be awful outside?”

The bell over the door rang and a woman with a small child trailing behind came through. “Are you open? Tell me you are open.”

“We certainly are open.” Paul smiled. “What can we do to help you?”

“I’m hoping that you can help me out with some groceries until my check comes in later this month,” the woman said. “My friend drove me, and I don’t know what I’ll do if you can’t help me.”

“No problem,” Paul said. “We can certainly help you.”

The woman provided details of what she needed, and Paul and Luke loaded a box for her. The woman thanked them over and over again. “I don’t know what I would have done if your church’s food bank wasn’t open. Most of the other places are closed because of the approaching storm.”

Luke carried the box out to the street and when he came back, he brushed the snow off his coat.

“I think the storm is starting out there. I shoveled the walkway again but I don’t know how long before it’ll need to be done again.”

“Do you think we should close up for the day?”

“Both of us can walk home and there might be someone else in need of groceries.” Luke shook his head. “The woman asked me why we were open when everyone else was closed.”

“What did you tell her?”

“I told her we wanted to make sure that people like her were cared for in this difficult time.” Luke paused. “I think she was crying when I said that.”

Paul put his hand on his friend’s shoulder. “I think that means that your words touched her.”

“Maybe,” Luke said.

“Do you think it means something else?”

Luke nodded. “I think it means that today we are helping the light of Christ to shine in the world.”


*****************************************

StoryShare, January 26, 2020 issue.

Copyright 2020 by CSS Publishing Company, Inc., Lima, Ohio.

All rights reserved. Subscribers to the StoryShare service may print and use this material as it was intended in sermons, in worship and classroom settings, in brief devotions, in radio spots, and as newsletter fillers. No additional permission is required from the publisher for such use by subscribers only. Inquiries should be addressed to permissions@csspub.com or to Permissions, CSS Publishing Company, Inc., 5450 N. Dixie Highway, Lima, Ohio 45807.
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