We reached the popular sledding hill and bundled up head to toe. We Californians are wimps when it comes to the cold and 25 degrees Fahrenheit was a bit too chilly for us. Nevertheless, we tumbled out of the car and headed up the hill ready for some snowy fun.
I stayed at the bottom of the hill with the baby as my hubby took the boys up the slope with the sleds. My easily distracted five-year-old did not make it very far before he stopped in his tracks, dropped to his knees, and dug at something hidden in the snow. Soon, he jumped up and ran down the hill to me, obviously overjoyed.
“What’re you doing, Buddy?” I asked as he thrust his treasure into my gloved hands.
“Mommy, look! I found glitter!” he gushed – proud of himself.
Litter, aka trash, or “glitter” to my five year old, is unfortunately common on this popular hillside. I was proud of my eco-minded child who could not pass up litter in the wilderness without picking it up – no matter the call of the snowy hillside. Definitely a tree-hugging parent’s dream. I quickly praised his efforts. Beaming, he went on a hunt for more “glitter” and kept returning to me with more trash to fill my jacket pockets.
As I was reflecting on this moment, I realized how many more lessons there are in this precious story than just a child’s enthusiasm to cleanup our planet.
Everywhere we turn today we are reminded how terribly dark this world is… The media bombards us with stories of murder, terrorism, famine, disease – the list is endless… As Christians, we are called to be light in the midst of the darkness. But I, for one, sometimes feel like I would rather stay in my safe little house and shut out the world around me. The darkness is scary, so instead I sometimes want to hide in the face of it all. But then I am reminded of the words of Jesus
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. “ Matthew 5: 14-15
Am I guilty of doing just that? Hiding my light out of fear of the darkness around?
As a mother, I know the idea of bringing an innocent child into this scary world can seem bleak. I know many people who have hesitated to have children – or more children – for this reason. However, the very reason we should have kids is because of the darkness. Without children who love God and others and want to make the world a better place, there is less hope – there is less light – less glitter in the dark.
The ironic thing is, by hiding my light, or keeping my kids secluded and safe at home, I only bring the darkness into my own home.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
Spread some glitter to lighten the darkness in the world around you. It does not have to be hard – even picking up litter on a hillside is a start. If we all take the time to peak out and shine our light, then one-by-one, we will make the world a brighter place.