As I sit here on Christmas Eve, I know what is coming.  There will be lots of food, lots of wrapping paper, lots of noise, hopefully a glimmer of a “silent night” around midnight and then, another day of the same tomorrow.  And then there will be calm.  Quiet.  And, at some point, thoughts will turn to the new year.

For those who follow Jesus and those who don’t, the dawn of a new year often brings reflection.  And a new desired direction.  “This year I want to read my Bible, cover to cover.”  “This year I want to lose 20 pounds.”  “This year I want to set aside money each month for my retirement.”

Christian and non-Christian alike, we all LOVE having the opportunity for a sort of “do-over.”  A second chance.  A fresh start.  We all know we have not been the perfect spouse, parent, sibling, child and relish the thought of being able to try again.  To start with a clean slate.

Except when we can’t.  As difficult as it is to talk about, there are things we can’t undo.  Words that have been said, things that have been done, that will never disappear from the hearts and minds of those around us.

And habits we have tried – oh so many times –  to break.  Addictions, patterns, whatever one calls them, they have become interwoven into our existence and even though we impressively talk about living a life without them…we have little confidence it will ever happen.

There are certain electrical outlets in our home which connect directly to a light switch.  This may seem like a simple concept. However, it is one that escapes me frequently.  Take when I tried to plug in our Christmas tree lights this year.

“Oh no, this outlet doesn’t work.  I will try the other one.  Good grief, all I want to do is plug in some Christmas lights without an outlet going out.” I sat there shaking my head in frustration.

But then my husband, looking ever so smug, asks me to plug the lights into the original outlet one more time.  I roll my eyes but do it anyway.  And then – kinda like magic – the tree lights shine gloriously.

“The outlet is connected to the light switch, remember?” says my husband.  And my frustration is short-lived as I realize we won’t have to sneak behind the tree to turn its lights off and on because now we can do it with the light switch on the wall. Brilliant!

 

I wonder if we approach each new year the same way.  We try to make changes, sometimes really Godly changes, and get so frustrated because they don’t happen.  The lights just don’t come on.

When all along, there is a switch we can turn on to make them shine.

I believe the Holy Spirit is that light switch.  His is a power that is available and so miraculous that nothing is impossible for Him.

But we forget about Him.  We are so convinced that it is up to us.  And so entrenched in our usual routines and methods, we neglect the obvious.  He is right there.  And He is not optional.  I can stare at the plug stuck in the outlet all day but if I don’t flip on the wall switch, nothing is happening.  And I can keep doing the “same old same old” year after year, but unless I access the power of the Holy Spirit, the lights are staying off.  Nothing is gonna change.

What can the Holy Spirit do?  Anything and everything.  He can give you the power to forgive. To be forgiven. To learn. To change. To let go of heavy anchors of pain and disappointment.

And find islands of comfort and joy.

I know the lights may not be coming on right now.  But they will.

Just don’t forget to turn on the switch.

Romans 8:26-27 “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

In Christ,
Melinda Lamera