Sharon Wilharm Bible Storyteller

Light in the Darkness

I’ve always loved the beginning of January. After the excitement of the holidays, it’s a time of quiet reflection on the past year and renewed energy and anticipation of the year to come. 

In the olden days, I’d labor over a list of New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, come mid January, I’d already forgotten what they were as I merrily went on my way just as I’d done the year before. 

Then someone introduced me to having a Word of the Year. At first, I didn’t quite understand it. It seemed weird to me. But the more I pondered it, the more I grew to like the idea. Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else. If you’ve not done it before, let me explain my process so you might incorporate it into your own life. 

It all begins near the end of the year. I start praying about what it is that God wants to show me in the days ahead. What is it He’s teaching me or wants me to learn or what He wants me to do. As words pop up in conversations, sermons, or Bible reading, I mull them over to see if they resonate. Generally, though, when the right word comes along, I know it right away. 

Last year’s word was “focus”. It came to me as I was planning for our women’s conference. I thought I knew where God was going with it, but I had no idea. It was such a perfect word for 2020, though. As I found myself getting sucked up in the muddy waters of 2020, all I had to do was remember to pivot my focus. Instead of concentrating on my situation or surroundings, I lifted my eyes up to focus on Him. And He gently lifted me out of the muck and got me back on solid ground. It’s been such a comfort to me to know that as long as I keep my focus on God and not on the world, then nothing that’s going on in the world really matters. 

Another word for 2020 was “remnant”. It came to me mid year, but seemed to pop up a lot in my Bible reading. It’s scattered throughout the Old and New Testaments and is a reminder that it’s ok to be in the minority. In these days where so many have lost their way, it’s a wonderful reminder that many are going the way of the wide road, and few are on the straight and narrow. I suspect in the days to come, the remnant will grow even smaller. But here’s something really special to think on. For those of you who sew, we all know that much can be done with remnants. Quilters make beautiful creations out of tiny leftover pieces of fabric. So can God take the small crowd who remains faithful and use us in mighty ways. 

So now comes 2021, and I am so excited about my word for the year. As our pastor preached the Sunday after Christmas, he mentioned about the mission of our church. It’s something he’s talked about many times, but suddenly when he said “light”, I literally lit up. “Light!” Yes, that’s my word for 2021! And what an amazing word it is. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about what light means and how we are to be seeking the Light and how we are to be the Light in the world. With all that’s going on in our world, it’s more important than ever that we reflect the Light from above and not the Darkness around us. 

I challenge you, if you’re not already in the habit of seeking a word for the year, give it a try. Pray about it, asking God what it is that He wants you to focus on. Perhaps you’ll join me with my word. LIGHT. It’s a good one!

I’d love to hear what word God gives to you. 

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