Focal verse

“No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to [God] in heaven” (Matthew 5:15-16).

Reflection

“Mom! Look! I see the moon!” my daughter says. In the early morning, before school, she often comes to our front porch and looks to the sky. She delights in seeing the moon and figuring out what it looks like. Later, as we walk to school, both kids notice that “the moon is following us.” I love their curiosity and the way they pay attention to the world around them. Sometimes I try to tell them how we can see the moon because of the earth’s movement and the reflected light of the sun, but mostly we just celebrate the light.

Kids have an innate ability to bask in the light. Mine love to point out flowers turned to the sun, taste sun-ripened tomatoes fresh from the vine, search for rainbows after a storm or marvel at light breaking through leaves. Their joy is a light I follow.

When my children notice the light, I point them to a deeper understanding of it—Jesus’ light that resides in each of us. Jesus tells us that he is the light of the world (John 8:12), but what does that mean in our everyday lives? How do we show our children that truth?

In our family, we name goodness in our midst and direct our attention to where we can shine light for others. We do so through tangible acts such as praying for our neighbors across the street and around the world, asking God to share the light with those who are sick, lighting candles, making food for others. I tell my children that they bring light to others when they share and show kindness. They lighten my mood—and the hearts of others—when they laugh and smile and play.

Thanks to my children, I am never short on reminders to move toward the light. However, they need my intentionality to find the light of Christ within themselves and in the world. Together, we lift our faces to the sky and feel the warmth of God’s presence fall on us.

Practices

  • Light candles throughout the day to remember that Jesus is the light of the world. It can be as simple as lighting one candle, over a meal or while you’re getting ready for bed. As you see the light, say together: “Jesus is the light of the world.”
  • Unearth your baptismal candles and remind everyone in your family that they have light to shine for others.
  • Sing “This Little Light of Mine” and talk about how you, as a family, can share your light with others (sharing with friends, preparing a meal, praying, etc.).
  • Be intentional in encouraging your children to find brightness in everyday moments. Say a prayer of thanks for God’s presence even when the light is hard to find.

Prayers

We pray for a spirit of openness to listen to those who are different from us.
We pray God’s light can be felt when sickness and challenge occur.
We pray for families amid transitions and uncertainty.
We give thanks for the work of ELCA World Hunger, which shares God’s light through food, shelter and basic necessities for those in need.
We give thanks for friends who reach out with kind words.
We give thanks for the sun, moon and stars—all parts of God’s beautiful creation.
Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. Amen.

Service opportunity

Contact your church to get a list of people who are celebrating their baptismal anniversaries this month. Send a note from your family to them, reminding them of God’s light shining in them.

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 kimberlyknowlezeller.com.

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