We have those experiences in our lives, those Aha! moments. The first is certainly the moment of birth. When you, as a healthy baby, emerged from the womb and were exposed to the light of reality, you probably cried. The first surprise of awareness is shocking.
Other moments when the light went on for you were probably:
- When the small-child you realized that you were an independent agent, with a will separate from your mother’s and a unique personality and identity.
- When you first thought about what you wanted to be when you grew up and found a model in that career to look up to.
- When you got your first good grade on a test in school and realized there was a lot more you could learn through education.
- When you discovered a hobby or a sport that really got you excited, and you found special friends who shared that interest.
- When you fell in love the first time and sincerely believed that all your dreams would be fulfilled in that person.
- When you fell in love the second time and knew that this, for sure, was the one.
- When you fell in love the third time and wondered how you could have been so wrong the first two times.
- When you fell in love again, this time with that little baby you and you mate brought into this world.
- When you got that college degree or dream job that really made you feel like an independent adult.
Those moments when a light goes on really change us and shape us into the person we’re destined to become. Along the way, we may also experience an emergence into the spiritual light of a personal relationship with God. Sometimes, this comes through a big dramatic exposure to the Light, as in the Apostle Paul’s conversion experience (Acts 9:3-5). More often it comes in a series of smaller light-goes-on realizations, as was the case with the blind man whom Jesus healed (John 9); he first described Jesus as “a man” (verse 11), then as “a prophet” (verse 17), then as “from God” (verse 33), and finally as the “Son” of God worthy of his faith and worship (verses 35-38).
I believe for most of us there are three distinct moments in our spiritual journey when the Light goes on:
- Spiritual Curiosity – When we find ourselves surprisingly interested in finding ultimate answers to life questions: What’s it all about? Where did I come from? Where am I going? How am I connected with the universe around me?
- Spiritual Conversion – When we realize we’re faced with a choice that is bigger than life itself, and we make the decision to center our life around God, with our entire heart, mind and soul.
- Spiritual Aspiration – When, maybe years later, we wake up from the lethargy of a predictable Christian life and realize there’s more, much more, to experience in our faith journey, if we’ll only open our eyes and look up. Once we see this possibility, we find ourselves compelled to reach for it, to aspire to the fullest revelation of the Light of God humans can experience in this life.
I hope a spiritual light goes on for you this Christmas season — either Curiosity, or Conversion, or Aspiration!
— Pastor George Van Alstine