I’m sure I’ve read it before, at least the first Sunday of Advent for the past 17 years. But this year, it was almost like everything and everyone got quiet around me on Sunday and I heard these words clearly–“The night is passed And the day is at hand. Let us, therefore cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” (Romans 13:12) Wow. For someone who loves inspiring Bible quotes, I started imaging this on tee shirts, wall decals, and of course photoshopped on Pinterest boards. Let’s look at Bible Quotes: The Armor of Light, especially as we’ve entered this season of light.
Bible Quotes: The Armor of Light
Before we get into the meat of this post, let’s look at this verse in my new favorite translation, the New Living Translation, “The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.”
Um, #momlife anyone? This verse takes on a new meaning when you add such a descriptive visual as, “So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes.” ‘Cause if there’s anything I spend a lot of time with, it’s dirty laundry. Maybe…maybe this new visual will help me appreciate my kids dirty laundry more??? Just thinking out loud here.
Put on the Armor of Light
But back to the point of this post, the “Armor of Light.” It’s ironic that a time of year that is the most lit up with twinkle and sparkle, can also be one of the darkest times, a holiday blindness if you will. It’s like when you walk into a darkened room from being out in the bright sun, the room suddenly seems darker, you can’t even see where you’re going. And in this season of light, well, sometimes we are blinded and can’t even see where we’re going. We need to put on the armor of light.
Here’s how this works, for some of us, we’re suddenly blinded by the idea that we need something. We need a new this or need a bigger that. Ask us in June and we probably don’t even know we need it then. Come December first, it’s like we can’t live without it. And this thing we suddenly need…it’s on S.A.L.E.. Those four letters can sure fuel that need.
One Thanksgiving night I sat outside my oldest daughter’s brand new job at 10:30 at night amazed at the number of people carrying out pillows they had just bought. And I thought “Really?” Last week would any one of these people have been streaming in the store at 10:30 p.m. to buy a pillow? Probably not.
But last week the store was not decorated with the twinkly lights that can cause this holiday blindness. Last week Christmas music wasn’t being piped through every open speaker and there wasn’t a man standing out front ringing a bell asking for donations. Nope, last week was just an ordinary Thursday night…and no one needed a pillow at 10:30 p.m. on a Thursday night. Put on the armor of light.
This holiday blindness, it also causes lifestyle blind spots and begins to mess with our minds. We tend to overestimate our finances, our ability in the kitchen, and our patience level. We forget who we really are in search of who we think we want to be. We try too hard to be the good wife and leave a miserable husband, cranky children, glitter, flour and ribbon in the wake of what we thought was going to be the “perfect” holiday season. Put on the armor of light.
All of these sudden expectations can cause a darkness to come over us; the absence of light. We suddenly have this insatiable need for a new pillow, at 10:30 p.m. on a Thursday night. Or we need to make the Pinterest worthy Gingerbread mansion, or the need to have the biggest tree, from the most storybook farm, appropriately Instagrammed with the “Dreamy” filter; these things can be become blinding. Don’t ask me how I know.
And this seasonal darkness doesn’t have to be a case of full blown, holiday season depression either; it can be that feeling of too much to do with too little time. This darkness can fuel a perfectionist streak that forces us to remake a pie that doesn’t look the way the magazine picture does…or our sister-in-law’s. Don’t ask me if I’m speaking from personal experience here. I’d hate to have to say “Yes.”
The shadows can easily creep into our mind when we crawl into bed, too late, with too much still on our plate. This gloom really knows how to zero on and hit us hard when it comes to comparison doesn’t it? Put on the armor of light.
The solution? The way to put on this armor of light? It’s so simple…but simple does not always mean easy. Begin by remembering who you really are. You are not the sum of your perfect turkey basting skills. You are not the sum of your coordinated stockings hung meticulously by the fireplace with care. You are not the sum of your Christmas present wrapping abilities.
And your worth is based more on Who He is, than who you are. You cannot create a Winter Wonderland to make Christ love you more. Honestly, you can’t create a Winter Wonderland to make anyone love you more…not even yourself. So this armor of light? It’s actually a stepping from away from the lights of the season; they can and will blind us.
If this season can seem dark, follow Paul’s instruction to put on the Lord Jesus Christ; he said this right after he exhorted us to put on the armor of light. Put on the Light of the World.
Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”