By Pastor Rhoda Klein Miller
Diwali (“de-VAH-lee”) or Deepawal is a festival of light and is a sacred celebration for our Hindu and Sikh brothers and sisters. During the five days of Diwali, devotees around the world will light diyas (oil lamps) to symbolize the victory of light over darkness and good over evil.
A day before Diwali, Bela was invited by her friend, Kita, for a Diwali celebration. This was the first time that Bela attended a Hindu festival. They had been friends for three years and Kita knew Bela was Christian but that hadn’t affected the mutual trust and respect they shared. Kita wanted to share this time of joy and celebration with her close friend. On the day of Diwali at Kita’s house, everyone got up early, took a bath, and wore new clothes for the festival. Kita’s family belonged to the Sanatan Dharma religion and their worship included chanting some prayers. In the evening, it was time for a delicious dinner and everyone sat at the dining table. Before they began Bela asked “Can I offer a thank you prayer before we eat?” A prayer seemed like a nice thing to do so they agreed to the prayer of thanks. Bela prayed, thanking God for all the things He had given and for everyone present to enjoy the family time during the festival. She closed her prayer in the name of Jesus Christ.
Kita’s mother was touched by the prayer and said that it was a beautiful thing to be thankful to God for all the blessings. “Do you offer all your prayers in Jesus’ name?” Kita’s mother asked.
Bela said yes and shared why Jesus was so important to her because He taught “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12). Because of the prayer, Kita and her family asked to learn more about Bela’s faith. Diwali is a wonderful opportunity to join in prayer that all people may come to know the True Light of the World. As Christians we not only walk in the light but we are image-bearers of God, who reflect light of His love and tell the story of how our own darkness has been dispelled. Be prepared to share a greeting “May the Light bring joy to your family” when you meet a Diwali celebrant this week.