This morning I walked along the beach and into Bournemouth town centre.  The Christmas lights this year are themed around a Christmas tree walk which weaves its way from the beach through the lower and upper gardens. 

There are some very impressive trees, including one you can walk completely through. 

However, at 11am, they're not lit up and so despite the size and shape being apparent,  the thing that makes them spectacular is not evident.....it could be said that the trees are up but the lights are not on! 

It's only as darkness falls, that the trees come into their own with hundreds and thousands of lights illuminating them.  The darker the surroundings, the brighter they seem to shine. 

In our household, we're focusing on a slightly different tree during advent.....the Jesse Tree.  Every evening we are looking together at the complete plan of God, from creation to redemption. 

'"The people living in darkness have seen a great light;on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.”  (Matthew 4:16) 

I felt challenged by my thoughts as I wandered through the town.  When so many people are jaded by the amazing truth of the Christmas story, do I help illuminate that for them or do I allow them to keep living in darkness?  When I see the lights on a Christmas tree does it remind me of Jesus, the light of the world?  Am I able to bring God's light into the darkest of situations for others?  What needs to happen for you and me to be truly 'switched on' regardless of the time of day? 

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1-5) 

Why not prepare for Christmas by taking some time to spend with God at The Greenhouse - there's still time!  To book, drop us an email ([email protected]), call us 01202 764776 or book online at www.the-greenhouse.org