For several years, my Uncle Lewis gave us a Snow Village house for Christmas. Over time, we had quite the little community, with a couple of houses, a church, a barn and silo, a pet shop, a courthouse, and a one-room school, along with little people, animals, and a singing choir. When we lived in Iowa, I used to set the whole thing up in a deep, broad window sill in my kitchen, covering books stacked in varying heights with cottony snow blankets to create that wintery wonderland. It was lovely.

Then we moved to Florida.

It was hard to decorate for Christmas in Florida, since it was usually mild enough to throw open the big slider onto the lanai and feel the fresh breeze that rustled the palm trees. You really had to crank up Bing to get you in the spirit, and for whatever reason, I just couldn’t muster the excitement to get out the snow village. So it stayed in the moving box it had been packed in for four years.

Then we moved to Texas.

Our first Christmas back here was spent in corporate housing, and all of our Christmas stuff was in storage. We bought a little pencil tree for the apartment. The end. Then we moved into a house, and it was glorious to have all our stuff back. I decorated with wild abandon, but forgot about the snow village until it was too late in the season to worry about it. So, again, it stayed in the box from Iowa. And, for whatever reason, it remained there for five more years.

Until this Christmas.

I was up in the attic, looking for something else, when I saw the box sitting there, forlorn. I opened it, finally, after nine years, and smiled at the little people, frozen in their wintery, Christmasy, stance, amidst the frosted fir trees and houses boxed in their original packaging. I thought about the shelves on either side of where our Christmas tree sits, and how perfect they would be tucked into each one, so I hauled down that box.

After careful placement of each one, charming vignettes were created, and after replacing some bulbs and tinkering with some of the cords, soft light emanated from each dark shelf. Along with the lights from the tree, it was magical.

Then I woke up this morning, and two houses were dark, along with a section of my tree. It was incredible just how dark and drab those once shining areas looked. It was like a street light suddenly gone out on a country lane, where the darkness seems overwhelming and like you will never be able to find your way.

God provided the light of a star to lead the wise men from the east to the King they sought. What they didn’t realize was that the light in the sky was leading them to the Light of the World – a Light that shattered darkness for all time, for those who would follow it.

Those of us who have made that choice carry that light. It’s easy to allow the trappings of this world to hide it, especially this time of year. But there is a dark world sorely in need of it, lost people overwhelmed by the darkness who desperately need to be shown the way out. Be intentional about throwing off whatever is blocking your light. Seek its Source and SHINE.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to try to help my tree and my little houses do the same!


“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 ESV

Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 MSG