My toddler thinks flashlights need to be blown out like candles and a match. She will force her breath on the light, trying to get it to turn off. But the light continues to shine.  

It’s that season of light right now—Epiphany. In the U.S., Epiphany arrives when many of us are longing for the darkness of winter to recede. We are longing for the light. 

In church we’ll hear the story of Jesus’ baptism, his call to the early disciples and what it means to be his follower. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1:15). 

We read this passage and wonder if we are being called—if we can follow Jesus. We wonder what good news there is left in this world, and if the light will truly banish the darkness.  

The light of the Christ child not only shines for us but calls each of us. Christ’s birth reminds us that hope comes from small and humble beginnings. That hope surprises. That hope was born for us. That Christ longs to dwell in us and call us deeper into his love.  

And when we answer that call and claim our identity as Christ followers, we can set the world ablaze with light, hope and love. 

Someday my daughter will know that she can just turn the flashlight on and off by herself. That it is possible to turn off the light. I pray that by the time she understands this, she’ll know the deeper truth of Christ’s light, a light that continues to shine even when all we see is darkness.  

We all need reminders that Christ’s light will not stop shining. When the world is bleak, when we can’t get past the endless news cycles of horrific acts, when we have lost hope in our relationships, when we can forget that we are loved, when we miss Christ’s presence in our lives, the light still shines. 

We can’t get the light to go away even if we try. Christ’s light is still present, shining without our works or deeds—just shining. And we can’t blow it out.  


Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two and spouse of an ELCA pastor. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Mo. Her website is

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