During the darkest time of year in the northern hemisphere, every celebration seems to be brimming with light! Christmas lights decorate trees, bushes, porches and eaves. Hanukah candles burn brightly, lighting up the night. New Year’s Eve fireworks split the darkness. Light conquers darkness. Every. Time. And it fascinates us! Think of all the evenings spent gazing at a lighted Christmas tree… or staring at a fire in the fireplace… or pondering the moon and the stars… not to mention enjoying a sunrise or sunset!
Just as the vine reaches for the sun, so we are inexorably drawn to light. It is the essence and gift of life. Sunlight powers the entire process of producing fruit on the vine. As Galileo has famously noted:
Wine is sunlight, held together by water.
As leaders, if we are trying to produce a harvest of something amazing, it needs light! What does that look like? How do we bring the generative gift of light into our contexts? Consider these practices (plagiarized from Isaiah) as a starting point.
- Share – Share the light of knowledge and resources. Hoarding brings darkness.
- Care – Pay attention to and care for the physical and emotional needs of people in your context. Just like the vine that needs tending, people will flourish with a little care.
- Praise – Celebrate growth and coach through failure. Criticizing and blaming have no place in the light. People flourish in the sunlight of genuine praise.
- Promote Justice – Make decisions that promote justice. Tipping the scales with favoritism creates darkness. Create a learning environment that avoids ignorant injustices.
- Advocate for Freedom – Are there people who are stuck or marginalized in some way? Be on a mission to help them break free and empower them to participate fully. Further, analyze and change structures that may be oppressing certain groups.
This holiday season, as you enjoy a glass of bubbly champagne or a silky Zinfandel by the light of a candle or a Christmas tree, consider the sunlight that was needed to produce the beautiful wine. Swirling your glass, contemplate how the light of your life can illuminate a dark place and produce an abundant harvest. Jesus shows us how this is done.
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 1:4-5
Want to drink wine while considering more leadership principles from the vineyard? Of course you do! It’s what we do at Conversations in the Vineyard! As a holiday gift, we are offering $100 towards a retreat for anyone who fills out an Inquiry before the end of the year. The discount will go into effect the moment we agree on the right retreat for you.