Editor’s note: Today’s devotion comes from one of CTA’s latest Fall Festival themes, Shine Bright, Little Light. You can find this and several all-new Fall Festival and Halloween Alternative themes at www.CTAinc.com. Start your planning today!
Before you begin, gather multiple sources of light—a desk lamp, a flashlight, a battery-powered lantern, an unlit candle, a string of Christmas lights, or other items. Do not put batteries in the battery-operated lights and take the battery cover off so that it’s obvious the batteries are missing. Have the batteries hidden at your side during the message. If possible, have an electrical outlet available, too.
Today, I’ve brought a few things with me. (Set items in front of the children.) I use all of these things to light up my house and yard, but today, none of them are working. (Have the children attempt to turn on the items.)
I guess I should throw these things away—they’re pretty useless if they don’t work. Don’t you think I should throw them away? (Allow time for children to respond.) No? I shouldn’t put them in the trash . . . ? Why not? (Allow time for children to respond.) Oh, do you think the lamp will work if I plug it in? Do you think the flashlight will work with batteries? (Do these things and show the children that the items are creating light.)
Wow! It’s a good thing I didn’t throw away my (name the items)! They didn’t work at first, but now they are giving off such a bright, glowing light. In today’s message, we’re going to talk about another light source—a beautiful one!
Jesus tells us (point to the children as you say the verse), “Let your light shine” (Matthew 5:16). That sounds kind of funny, doesn’t it? We aren’t made of light bulbs—what light is he talking about? Jesus is talking about a special kind of light that he has put in the hearts of boys and girls just like you—the light of faith and love. But, just like the lights we saw at the beginning of this message, we have a problem.
You see, sin keeps our light from shining. When we get angry and yell at our parents, that sin keeps our hearts dark. When we keep all of our toys to ourselves or say mean things about other people, nobody can see our light. What else keeps others from seeing the light of Jesus’ love shining in us? (Give time for children to respond.)
Even though our lives were darkened by sin, God didn’t throw us away. He loves us too much! He knew that we could never shine on our own. We needed his forgiveness for our dark, unloving actions. And we needed power—real power—from outside ourselves if we were to shine with his love. That’s why he sent Jesus to be our Savior. Jesus took all of our sins to the cross, every single one of them. He died on the cross to take away the darkness of sin. Then, he rose from the dead on Easter. That means our sins are gone! We are forgiven and free to shine!
Jesus is the brightest, shiniest light in the entire world. He said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). Even though you may not travel the world, you can still shine with the bright light of Jesus’ love at home, at school, and everywhere you go. The darkness of your sin is gone! You can shine the light of Jesus’ love by loving others—sharing with your brothers and sisters, obeying your parents, showing kindness to other kids, and forgiving others when they hurt you.
As you shine, other people will take notice. They’ll want to know why you are so kind and loving. They’ll want to know what makes your light shine. And, you can tell them, it’s Jesus!
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