Faith Spilling Over… Into Everyday Life

Shining Our Lights Brighter Over the Holidays


Shining Our Lights BrighterJesus called us the light of the world. He told us to let our light shine, but sometimes I’m too busy or too wrapped up in my own world to think much about shining.

My friend Debbie lets her light shine in a special way every Thursday at 12:30 in Austin, Texas. Through an elementary school mentoring program, Debbie has lunch with Susan, a little girl who lives with her grandmother because her mother died, and her father’s an unfit guardian.

Jesus, the Light of the World, stepped out of his comfort zone to meet needs. He challenged his followers to a radical faith: visit the sick, clothe and feed the needy, and visit those in prison. Jesus demonstrated what love does. Love gives. He calls us to do the same when He says:

“You are the light of the world…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16


With the holiday season approaching, we naturally think about giving. What if we let our light shine brighter by giving to someone who can’t give back?

Maybe like me you feel overwhelmed enough by your own life. Maybe reaching out to those in need is a little bit scary because it takes us out of our comfort zone. We tell ourselves we don’t have time.

On Monday I wrote about how I was impacted by seeing my kids do something for Syrian refugees.

In response, I want to make time this holiday season to do ONE THING with my family to be good news to a hurting world.  One thing that will help us shift our focus off of ourselves and onto God and making His name famous.

Will your family join mine to shine our lights brighter? Here are some ideas:

1.  Visit someone you know who is sick or shut in at home.

2.  Volunteer in a soup/food kitchen.

3.  Visit the elderly in a nursing home.

4.  Buy the fixings for a Thanksgiving meal for a needy family. (Delivering it yourselves makes it more real to your children.)

5.  Take your child shopping to buy gifts to fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. (Deadline is November 24th.)

6.  Buy an Angel Tree Christmas gift for the child of a prisoner. (Check out the Angel Tree website for other ways to get involved.)

7.  Give something to the homeless man or woman you see out on the street. (Here’s the story of how Tarissa in Kansas handed a bag of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies to a woman at an intersection.)

These are just a few ways that we can step out to be good news to someone who needs it. Let’s let our lights shine a little brighter this holiday season.

Now it’s your turn. Do you have any other ideas?

Linking up today for Fellowship Fridays on Equipping Godly Women.

On “Faith in Action Fridays,” I write practical posts about living out our faith in our families and communities.

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Author: betsydecruz

I want to enjoy the everyday life God is giving me as best I can, even when the road gets bumpy. I love having fun with my teenagers, learning almost anything, and drinking dark roast coffee with my friends.

22 thoughts on “Shining Our Lights Brighter Over the Holidays

  1. What a wonderful post and great ideas. Honestly sometimes I get so busy, I mean to do something with my family, and can’t even settle enough to think of something to do.

    • Oh, I know the feeling, Beth. I’m thinking about going to visit some refugees in our city. (Ones I wrote about last week.) And already I”m waffling, thinking, “Do I really have time?” Want to do it over Thanksgiving holiday.

  2. That is a good reminder. My children are tiny, so we don’t do much yet. I have them color pictures to cheer people up.

  3. Such a great reminder to give, and be His Light this Holiday season… We are God’s Hands and Feet!!

  4. Betsy,
    Great post and reminder. I try to reach out to single moms and invite them and their families for thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. I’ve walked in their shoes and it can be a lonely road.
    Blessings and hugs to you,

  5. We’re thinking alike again, Betsy. My new post today is called “Grumbling or Grateful: Adjusting Your Brightness.” Different messages and yet the same outcome–letting our light shine brightly in this dark world. You have some wonderful suggestions for shining a little brighter. We have a friend who has been in and out of the hospital and in rehab since the week before Easter (he was home only 10 days!). Your post has inspired me to print out some thanksgiving Scriptures on leaves and make some kind of thanksgiving tree to place in his room. He’s told us before that just visiting him makes his day brighter. How much more the gift of God’s Word! Thanks so much for this special message, Betsy. Blessings to you!

  6. Betsy, I have to confess: I cried when I saw that you shared my chocolate chip cookie story. I’m so thankful God is using that brief exchange to bless others. Thank you for this reminder to let our lights shine brighter during the holidays. It’s such a busy time and I find myself easily swept away into the craziness. You’ve started the wheels of my mind in motion thinking of ways our family can reach beyond ourselves and extend love in the coming weeks. Thank you again!

    • Aw, Tarissa. Do you know I’d read it weeks ago and had to google it to see where it was from. I was pleased as punch yesterday to see that it had been YOU. Your story inspired lots of us. Yes, I’ve been thinking too of how we can reach beyond ourselves to show God’s love to others. Have seen some great suggestions in the comments.

  7. I am so inspired by your post. And I am challenged.

  8. These are great ideas and some great organizations, Betsy. It can be so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the season that we forget what it’s all about. Thanks for the reminder to slow down and remember to shine our lights. Blessings to you, friend.

  9. I love these ideas! (And I love how you shared Tarissa’s chocolate chip cookie story–that was such a good one!) Thanks for sharing on Equipping Godly Women Fellowship Fridays!

  10. I love this encouragement to serve and make a difference. My heart has been yearning to do more serving as a couple since my husband returned home. And I know I needed to stop waiting for the perfect opportunity to present itself and just get out there and do something. But I do love how PADS called us recently after submitting an application over a year ago. We are scheduled to volunteer soon! God is good. Blessings. xoxo

  11. I appreciate that you wrote it takes stepping out of our comfort zone to shine our lights brighter. Your suggestion to visit a nursing home is an especially tough one, but an especially important one.
    My son’s youth group had visited a nursing home regularly when he was little, and he played checkers and visited with some older gentlemen. My daughter and I had never done so.
    When the kids’ great grandmother moved to a nursing home, it was very difficult for me and my daughter to make ourselves visit her there. My son thought nothing of it because he had been accustomed from a young age. But my daughter would get upset and cry if I made her go. Although it was uncomfortable and hard on us, it gave their great grandmother much joy to have the children visit.
    This is a great post, Betsy.

    • Wow, that’s interesting how your son was already prepared to visit his great grandmother because he’d been there. It’s certainly true that visiting a nursing home could be upsetting for little kids (or teens). Although of course you’d want kids to visit their own relatives in a nursing home if at all possible, I don’t think I’d have my kids do anything that overly upset them…Judgment call. 🙂

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