It might sound strange, but I had always wanted to spend a Christmas away from home. I was about 7,000 miles (11,265 km) away from the usual family drama and commercial distractions. I wanted this Christmas to be about Christ, and what better way to celebrate than by helping others come unto Him?
My companion and I were coming back to our apartment after a day of missionary work in La Paz, a magical place on the outskirts of Laoag City, Philippines. I sat in the sidecar of a tricycle crammed next to my six-foot-tall (1.8 m) companion and just loved life. The air was cool, but nothing like what I was used to around Christmastime.
As we drove through the countryside, my eyes focused heavenward. Out there, far from the light and noise of the city, there were thousands of visible stars. As we approached the center of town, fewer and fewer stars were visible, until only the brightest ones could be spotted.
I thought about the light of those bright stars and about Jesus Christ. The star announcing His birth and Christ Himself, the “bright and morning star” (Revelation 22:16). He is the brightest star, the shining example for all of us. And yet, like those stars I saw looking out the tricycle, even He can be obscured by light pollution. The more distractions, the more artificial light, the less visible the natural light becomes. Out in a province of the Philippines, some stars can still be seen even from the middle of the town, but in megacities like Manila, you can’t see a single star at night. The light from advertisements, businesses, and homes all block out the light of distant stars.
The same thing happens when we surround ourselves with distractions and artificial lights—including and especially the lit screen of our phones. It becomes more difficult to see Christ’s light. This is especially true around Christmastime. It is easy to overbook the holidays and make ourselves as busy as Manila during rush hour. There are gifts to find, parties to plan, cards to write, and countless performances and events to attend. When we feel that we don’t have a spare moment to look up, we might not even realize how obscured Christ’s light has become in our lives.
As we light our homes and trees, we can never forget to let the Light of Christ into our hearts. Take a moment to pause the festivities to remember what you are celebrating. Christmas is about Christ. He is the light, and if we look up and minimize distractions, we can see Him, ever constant and ever shining for the whole world to see.