A salon I drive by on a daily basis has a sign out front that changes to reflect current promotions and seasonal specials. This week, the sign reads, “Stressed this Christmas? Get a massage.” I’ll admit, a massage would feel good right about now. But I know the feeling wouldn’t last. If I could change the sign, it would read: Stressed this Christmas? Get a Sparkle Box.
In case you haven’t read The Sparkle Box: A Gift with the Power to Change Christmas, a Sparkle Box is a gift you give Christ on Christmas. About eight years ago, my husband and I started the tradition of giving a gift to Christ on Christmas morning, and it filled our home with a joy and peace we had never known. As I read the gifts we put in our box that first Christmas morning….mittens for those who don’t have any, a shoebox filled with toys and small gifts for a child in another part of the world… I could barely get the words out. It was the most humbling, moving experience I had ever had.
After that first Christmas, giving a gift to Christ became a focal point of the season. We talked about what we wanted to do to honor Him. We looked for opportunities and ways we could make a difference in the world, for His glory—not our own. And something amazing happened. For the first time, I wasn’t stressing about how many cookies I baked or whether or not I got my Christmas cards out on time. I wasn’t fretting over whether or not I bought my children enough, or worrying that I bought too much. Christmas wasn’t about any of those things. It was about the joy of Christ coming to this world. It was about honoring Jesus on the anniversary of His birth. It was about celebrating a love that is deeper and wider than any other we’ll ever know.
Stressed this Christmas? Get a Sparkle Box and discover the joy and peace that comes from centering Christmas on Christ.
If you read my previous blog, you know I felt called to write the book, The Sparkle Box and that I had never felt called to do anything before in my life. In fact, it all seemed a little strange to me. What was even stranger, was the letter I wrote at the end of the first manuscript. The letter was from Jesus and it began, “Dear Child, you are the light of the world, make it sparkle.”
Now comes confession time. Although I had gone to church most of my life since I was about four years old, I hadn’t spent much time studying the Bible. I remembered that Jesus said He was the light of the world, and that recollection left me feeling more than a little uneasy. Who was I to say, “You are the light of the world”? I went to the living room and grabbed my Bible off the shelf. There is a great index in the back so I looked up the phrase, “light of the world.” I found the verse I knew, but I also listed in the index is “You are the light of the world.” I looked up Matthew 5:14 and realized I had read this verse before, but it was like I was reading it for the first time.
“You are the light of the world, glowing in the night for all to see.” Wow. Jesus told us we are the the light of the world? Suddenly it made perfect sense. When we are kind to one another, when we reach out with love or forgiveness, we when are compassionate…we are Christ’s light in the world. And He was calling me—He was calling all of us—to make a difference.
I was standing in my kitchen when I heard from God, and the words He gave me changed my life forever. I had heard people say they felt called to serve God, or that God gave them a message or spoke to them, but quite frankly, that was way out of my comfort zone. At that time in my life, I thought things like that didn’t really happen.
But there I was, standing in my kitchen. I had just gotten off the phone with a friend who called to cancel our plans because her daughter was sick. I had the morning off and as I looked out the kitchen window, I thought to myself,
I have the whole day in front of me. What am I going to do? No sooner had I had that thought than the words “Write the book” fell into my vision. I don’t know how else to describe it except to say the words came down out of nowhere. A grayish type that just appeared in my field of vision. I remember knowing instantly what the book was, and I answered “Now?” in my head. The command “NOW” appeared in response. I wanted to laugh. Really?
I hadn’t thought about the book in nearly a year. My laptop was sitting on our kitchen table and I sat down and opened it up. There was a legal pad to the left of the computer. I picked up a pen and wrote the words, “The Sparkle Box” on the pad of paper. I liked the sound of it. I started typing and when I stopped an hour and a half later, it was done. I put my face in my hands and wept. I felt a flood of light and warmth cover me and fill my body. I had never experienced such profound joy.
At the end of the manuscript, there was a letter. The letter began, “Dear Child, you are the light of the world, make it sparkle.” I believe it’s a message from God to all of us, and that’s why the bookThe Sparkle Box starts out “Dear Child, you are the light of the world, make it sparkle.”
This blog is about learning to be the light. It’s a journey filled with laughter, lessons, heartache and joy. I hope you’ll come along.