Whether your big family celebration is Christmas or Christmas Eve, Christmas is only the beginning, the start of a year long celebration of Light, Shalom, the Word.

We had a very special gift this year – Christmas on Sunday. Not only did I get my favorite Christmas Eve candlelight service, I also had a special Christmas morning sermon by Pastor Helen. She presented us with two Christmas stories – the one we all know from Luke but also the story from John.

The light of one candle.

Christ is the light, a gift of structure, a patterned design sent by God to combat the darkness.

What darkness? Read the headlines. Watch the news. The players may be different, but the concerns are much the same.

Poverty. Unemployment. Fear. Prejudice. War. Depression.

No, you alone can’t over come these things and it would be simplistic for me to suggest that you could. But you can carry the Light of Christ with you into the Darkness. One small candle. Drop a coin in a tin cup. Put a canned good into a barrel. Invite someone to dinner in your home even if you are serving something simple like soup and sandwiches. Write someone a note telling them about the difference they have made in your life.

Seventeen candles -- quite a difference.

None of these actions is huge. They are small acts. Tiny candles in a sea of darkness. But think about lighting one small candle each week. One tiny act, 52 times. Now think about the light given off by 52 small candles.

What if I did this? What if you did this? How far would Christ’s light reach into the darkness?