Be Brilliant: “We” instead of “Me”

Be Brilliant: “We” instead of “Me”

It is a mad craze out there, isn’t it?

As we prepare for Christmas, parking lots are like a game of bumper cars. Schedules feel like control top pantyhose. Christmas spending is a haze that will lead us into a depressed daze come January. And don’t get me started about the stress of trying to get a decent family photo. It ain’t happening. Not this year. (So I’m sorry your Christmas card is not in the mail. Look for a nice photo on Facebook in 2018. ;))

As I have been out running around trying to check things off, what appears to be as long as Santa’s global gift, list. There has only been one thing that has brought me true joy in every long line I linger in. People.

At first many of them have that glazed over, sugar crashed look just like mine. But as soon as I smile and say, “Merry  Christmas,” we both seem to light up.

We have six days till Jesus’ birthday. Our natural inclination is going to be to focus inward on our lists, ourselves and our families. But I am beseeching you to go against that instinct and be brilliant.

Every day of the year we bear the invitation to be brilliant. To light up the world. And even when it feels darkest, the smallest light shines even brighter. We can not hide, hunker down or hold ourselves together. We need to let loose and let our light shine. One by one, we can start by bringing joy to another if we would only…

Look, Listen and Lean in with love

Look.

Look at the cashier. Look at your colleague. Look at your spouse. Look at your children. Look at the a little child waiting for the bus. Look at at the single mom behind you in line or the veteran eating alone at the diner.

Each person has a story. A story filled with valleys and victories. Look into their eyes and smile. See if they smile back. It will start to tell you the scene of their story they are presently in. If joy is what you’ll see twinkling in their eyes, it’s victory. If it’s hardship? Heaviness. Looking intently will help you then…

Listen.

When you see how they respond you can follow up with, “How are you?” Then all you have to do is actually listen.  It’s likely they won’t share their life story. But just the fact that you cared to ask, will help them feel seen in their day. Cared for. However, if you get the life story? It’s because no one has ever asked them before. And no one has taken the time to listen. If you’re that person that God uses to look and listen, get ready to receive more than you have given. Take the next moment to…

Lean in with love. 

The other day I was at Aldi – the only store I can shop in without leaving a pot hole in my wallet. The place was packed and the lines were long. Normally, I am that Mom with the shopping cart filled to the brim with what looks like a months worth of food that will really only survive a week. But this time I was just running in and out to get a Christmas gift from my son. Just one stinkin’ item. And I was looking at the long line when this gracious woman said, “Why don’t you go ahead of me.”

You see she looked

And listened without even asking a question or needing an answer.

She leaned in with love by letting me go ahead of her, helping me get back to that Santa-sized to-do list all the more sooner. It was that simple.

These few verses in John 1 have really been penetrating my heart and present in my mind…

The Word [Jesus] gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. Verses 4-5

So the Word became human, and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. Verse 14

For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. But the unique One [Jesus], who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us. Verses 17-18

I encourage you to read those again in your own Bible and underline them as you prepare for Christmas.

Jesus gave life to everything and brought light to everyone – His light shines in the darkness and like the energizer bunny, nothing will every extinguish it – God the Son took on flesh and dwelled with us. Made His home among us because He is full of unfailing love and faithfulness – He did so because God the Father wanted us to see, feel, and know His relentless love for us and enduring faithfulness. 

Jesus. Life. Light. Love. Reveals God to us. And not just to you and me. He desires we reveal God to all of his handiwork. People.

As we fight over that next parking spot, linger in that long line, consider whether we have time or not to bring a gift to a neighbor, grapple with real reason for the season.

Revealing God’s life, light, and love through Jesus and now through us.

Be blessed as you bless! And as I sang with Rihanna on my 39th birthday morning just several days ago , “Shine bright like a diamond!” Merry Christmas Brilliant One!

About Erin Nicole Thompson

Erin Nicole Thompson is a fun-loving and authentic momma to 4 littles, wife of a ruggedly handsome Pastor, and as she likes to think, the CEO of her home operations. She delights in worship, cooking with good music, the sweet faces of her sleeping children, adult conversations, and some quiet time at Starbucks. She loves to serve alongside, encourage, and equip young and seasoned women. Erin is grateful to be part of what God is doing at The Chapel, a multi-campus church in Northern Chicago-land where her husband, Dave, pastors the Lake Zurich Campus. Presently, she lives to dream and follow God as he writes her story.