For most of the country, the crisp cool air of autumn is upon us. A sure sign of autumn is that Christmas
decorations are popping up everywhere in retail stores. Halloween costumes and disguises are selling out in stores
as trick-or-treaters are ready to take over the streets. A popular symbol of both harvest time and Halloween is the
pumpkin. I was thinking recently that being a Christian is a lot like being a pumpkin. Perhaps you are visualizing this
orange, round vegetable and wondering how you could ever be compared to one of these squashes! Simply put,
like a child chooses a pumpkin to carve and mold an image upon, so God carves and molds His own unique design
in you.

The Scriptures tell us that the Lord chooses us. He lifts us up and washes the dirt from our skin. Then he opens us,
connecting deep inside to scoop out all the slimy, yucky stuff, including seeds of doubt, spite, lies, and fear. Then
He carves a new creation and makes our faces shine by putting His light inside for all to see. Sometimes I feel like I
don't want my light to shine because I am ashamed of a thought or action or pattern in my life. I try to hide the
light Christ has put in me and blend in with the crowd. What I forget is that when God carved me, created me, and
gave me His Son, I no longer had to count on my own strength. I can count on the Lord's. It is He who washes me
clean; it is He who gives me a spirit of strength and perseverance; it is He who makes me pure; it is He who frees
me from sin; and it is He who gives me hope. When I realize that my part of the equation is to rely on His strength
and power, then I can do as Scriptures say, and shine His light through the power of the Holy Spirit.

What starts as an everyday squash turns into a lantern of light. What starts as an everyday person turns into a
beacon of hope for all to see. Through our union with Christ, we are given the light and wisdom of the Holy Spirit
who enters and dwells in our lives. It is He who picked you out and carved you just the way He wants you. So,
make sure you keep your lantern lit for all to see.