A Battered Old Lantern

Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

My sister sent me this story written by a friend many years ago. Now that Christmas is upon us, I thought this would be a good reminder to all of us of the gift we can give to Christ and others because of the gift we received from Him.

Rehearsal for the Christmas Pageant were being held, and the Director was critically examining a battered old lantern that was to be used as an oil lamp in the manger scene. The idea was great – a warm, flickering lamp would cast a very authentic light in contrast to the harsh spotlights above. With any stretch of the imagination, one’s mind could easily span the two thousand years and embrace the atmosphere and quiet glory of the birth of the Christ child.

However, that old lantern seemed to present a problem for the Director – not in the light it cast, but in its battered appearance.

“It looks pretty banged up,” someone said. “Can’t we find something better?” another asked.

Suddenly, a thought struck me and I heard myself interrupt. “Excuse me, but I can’t help but suggest that in the dimness of the room I really don’t see the old lantern at all. All I see is the light it sends out.”

A brief discussion followed and the unanimous consent for its use was reached. The old lantern would be use and its warm glow would bathe the manger scene.

On Christmas morning we present quite an array of packages, don’t we? Some of us are brightly decorated – some are dented and worn, like that old lantern. When our Heavenly Father looks beyond the wrappings, what does He find inside – a willing gift, an open heart, a welcome invitation the makes the Christ Child of Christmas come alive within each of us?

Perhaps, each of us might say, “Father, my gift to you this Christmas is… me, just as I am, dented and rusty and with a few dings. I ask You to find use for this faulted life in the light of Your faultless Son, Jesus. Use me to spread the warm glow of Your love the sake, comfort and hope of my fellow man… and most of all, for Your glory!”

Written by Eldon Baye, December 1991

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