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Glow-in-the-Dark Humans

Do you know that you glow?

No, I’m not talking about the clammy glow you sport after a workout. I’m talking about actual light that comes out of our bodies. According to a 2009 study conducted by the Tohoku Institute of Technology, human bioluminescence exists – it’s just too faint for our weak eyes to see. The science is a bit over my head, but the way I understand it, we emit light as a result of our metabolic processes speeding up and cooling down. It’s too bad we don’t have Superman-like vision, or we could watch each other glow in the dark.

As we move into the season of Epiphany, we celebrate the ultimate revelation of God, “the true light that gives light to everyone” (John 1:9). I think about all the people who have shined their Christ-light on me, such as the stockbroker in a church I was pastoring in the early 90s. He found out that someone had broken into my car on a bright December afternoon while I was making a hospital call, snatching some presents in the back seat. He came up to me and asked how much the presents were worth. I replied, “Oh, around 50 bucks – they were just stocking stuffers for the kids.” He instantly retrieved his wallet and peeled the bills into my hand. “You and your family have a Merry Christmas,” he said.

That’s a small example, I know, paling in comparison to a missionary risking her life in hostile territory or a brave pastor opening up a storefront church in a blighted neighborhood. It’s inspirational when bold believers beam like a city on the hill, but Jesus also seemed to think it was fine to shine like a little oil lamp on a stand, too. In this dark world, any light is helpful.

The point is this: whether we burn like the sun or flicker like a comforting candle in a dark room, we are to shine. People are to see this light, and we are to humbly point to its True Source.

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