One of the staples of Christmas décor is the Christmas light. Some like to wrap every inch of their yard in multicolored lights, while others are more reserved with candles in their windows. Whatever you fancy is in the realm of advent luminosities, we can all agree that lights make Christmas time much brighter. As Christians and the church we are called to be lights illuminating Christ. As the body of Christ our utmost goal throughout our lives should be to show the world who Jesus is.
The role of the church is to turn on a light. If we read through Revelation we see an interesting concept. In the first chapter John calls churches lampstands. Now we as hip north americans on the cusp of 2012 [the future] may not totally understand what he is talking about with the lampstand. We have lights and lamps, but the people of the early church would have gotten what he was talking about better.
If we research a little bit we can find that in Exodus the lampstand was one of the pieces of furniture that God instructed them to build and place in the Tabernacle. God gave specific instructions about how the lampstand was to be built, the kind of oil it should burn, where it was to be placed, and what it was to illuminate.
We can read this in Exodus 25:31-40. The lampstand was the only source of light inside the tabernacle besides the presence of God. A job of the priest was to just make sure the light never went out on the lampstand. The most interesting details about the lampstand is what its purpose was. Its purpose was to cast its light on the bread of presence or the showbread.
Now you are pretty intrigued huh.. A menorah that lights up a loaf of bread. But there is meaning behind this bread. It represented a bread offering given to the Lord to show that Israel was giving Him their bounty and also stated that God is the one who gave them the bread in the first place.
So this gold lampstand was made to sit next to a table and kept watch over to make sure it was lit so that it could shine and show the nation that God will always provide for them and He is always present. This is also the object that Jesus would use to symbolize his own body broken for us.
So we as the Church are called to be this lampstand. The church exists to shine a light into the darkness. A light that highlights God’s goodness and reveals Jesus in order that the world might know him. The soul purpose of the lampstand was to focus its beam on the bread of presence.
The same is true for the church, our purpose is to showing others who God is. He in turn can show the world. During this time of year with lights around us all the time we must be on our watch. It is our calling to keep the light burning bright, the wicks trimmed, the lampstand in the right place. If we begin to dim than we must take immediate action. Let us keep our light burning bright into the next year and the future to proclaim that Christ is Lord.
Dan Ulrich is the director of youth and young adults at Sicklerville UMC. He is a former camper and has served in a variety of roles in the camp including his current position as vice president.