Monday, December 15, 2008

Light of the World - A Christmas Story

Light of the World

The weary traveler placed his luggage on the bed as the customary smells of hotel life surrounded him. Familiar with the routine of business travel, he clicked the remote, bringing the darkened screen of the television to life. Although he dreaded its constant stream of drivel, it served to break the lonely silence.

Tuning in the local news, he began to unpack his belongings. A small slip of blue construction paper fell to the floor as he pulled out his clothes. On it was a note from his son. “I love dad” was written at the top with whimsical pictures of the whole family. A tug of love grabbed at his heart.

Turning toward the TV, he saw the figure of a small boy among crowds of people at the capitol building in downtown Denver. Nine year old Zachary Brunetti, of Arvada, CO, was going to help the mayor throw the giant red switch that would bring to life more than 20,000 Christmas lights. Each December, Denver presents one of the most spectacular outdoor lighted displays.

It all began in 1914 when a little boy, David Jonathan Sturgeon, lay in his bed, too ill to partake in any Christmas festivities. At 10 years old, it would be his last Christmas. His grandfather, D.D. Sturgeon, one of Denver’s renowned pioneer electricians, wanted to brighten the boy’s holidays. He took ordinary light bulbs, dipped them in red and green paint and decorated a pine tree outside David’s bedroom window.

Not anticipating his effect on the city, Sturgeon watched as night after night, people walked and drove by in horse and buggy to see the lights. In 1919, John Malpiede, Denver’s only city electrician, spurred on the city’s impressive Christmas display by decorating the downtown area with similar red and green lights and boughs of evergreen. What had begun as a grandfather’s desire to bring joy to his dying grandson was then developed by a city electrician into the “World’s Largest Christmas Lighting Display”.

But the weary traveler’s eyes filled with tears instead of joy as he watched the little boy pull the switch and light up the city around him. This small boy had the honor of lighting up the world that surrounded him in utter darkness, then—with a big grin he sang out, “I liked it. It was cool!”

But Zachary Brunetti was different from his own small son at home—Zachary was blind. The first thought the traveler had was, “How cruel to let this poor little boy who cannot enjoy the display of lights, pull the switch that will light up the entire city.”

The traveler pondered his own son at home and how he had the gift of sight. God had spared him from such tragedy. Thoughts of the grace of God came to mind that changed his heart from sadness to joy. Little Zachary, in his own childlike innocence, reflected that grace.

The traveler, seeing the happiness in that little boy, realized the gift of grace God provides--not through our efforts or strength, but through His love for us. It is by grace that we are saved, and it is grace that fuels our ability to turn on the light in a darkened world. Be—the light of the world.

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  1. Good story!! I love you aunt Cindy!! Hope the surgery goes well I will be praying for you!!! J.J.