Pastor Kevin Sanders

"He must increase, but I must decrease." -John 3:30

Lessons From the Lights

I originally wrote this during the Christmas season a few years back. I figured it is an appropriate time to post it here at

This year I will be here in Manila for Christmas. With that in mind, I’ve decided to get into the Christmas spirit and decorate my apartment. I started decorating by putting up a couple of strings of Christmas lights along the wall.

Something surprised me when I plugged the lights in. I discovered that my Christmas lights do more than decorate—they illuminate! They gently light my living room and dining room without the help of the other fixtures. The soft, warm lighting puts me in a good mood every time I plug them in.

I decided to do a little experiment to see just how bright my Christmas lights are. I left them plugged in one night before going to the mall across the street. Upon exiting the mall I looked to see if I could find my apartment. I could clearly see my lights along the living room wall even though my apartment was one hundred yards away and six floors up.

This has caused me to think about Jesus’ words:

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. 
-Matthew 5:14-16

A Community of Light

Jesus began the sentence with a plural “you,” immediately followed by the illustration of a “city on a hill.” Even in ancient times, the cumulative effect of lighting must have been striking. A hundred rooms lighted with only lamps or candles would have stood out on a dark horizon.

One reason my Christmas lights work so well is that there are so many of them. You may look at your life and not think you have much influence. As you live your faith alongside other believers, however, you bring desperately needed spiritual “light” into this dark world.

Light Prevails

Jesus also noted that a single light source can give “light to everyone in the house.” Such is the nature of light. Even a small amount or source of it will completely dispel darkness. We should never be intimidated by the spiritual darkness that surrounds us on a daily basis. Christ’s life “shining” through us is more powerful than whatever forces we face.

Light Changes Lives

What will the end result be? People will see our lives and it will ultimately lead them to worship God. Lives will change! Sometimes we talk about “changing the world,” but Jesus spoke about changing lives.

There are some things my Christmas lights cannot change. If the dining room table is messy, it is still a mess when the lights come on. It is the same apartment, but the presence or absence of light makes an unmistakable difference. Such is the presence of believers in the world.

Final Thoughts

There are times when I wonder if I’m making much impact. The task of reaching thousands of students is daunting. Jesus’ simple analogy gives me great encouragement.

I am one of His lights in a dark world, and you are too. Jesus has given us this promise and responsibility whether we chose to believe and accept it or not. You and I are the light of the world, reflecting the One true light (John 8:12). We will see lives change if we simply obey God.

I may not change the world, but I surely want to light it up while I’m here!


  1. That’s beautiful.

    I think I’m going to borrow this for a future use.

  2. This is very nice. I thought I am the only one thinking that way sometimes…..Merry Christmas Kuya Kevin!

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