“You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:14-16 (MSG)

I think one of the best ways we can share the glowing warmth of Christ’s light is in the smile we give to others. For me, receiving a sincere smile from both, people I know and people I don’t know, is very important. A smile sincerely given says “I care about you.” Or, when we meet new people, it might say, “Hello! I would like to get to know you.”

I have a friend who has no problem casting that kind of smile people’s way. Such warmth she shares! I see God in it! And I believe the people who receive her smiles also see God in it, though they may not have made God part of their lives.

On our recent holiday to a couple of Greek islands my husband and I spent some time in the port town of Parikia.  Once again, as so often happens, I came to realize the importance of a smile when connecting with people. The people I met did not know my language and I did not know theirs. Yet I very much enjoyed reaching out in friendship, especially as I photographed them.

The lady whose photographs I show here, especially comes to mind. When I first saw her, I was drawn to her austere appearance and took a picture without her knowing it. But I don’t usually like to “steal” pictures like this. Besides, I wanted to see what her smile would look like. I wanted to connect.

I got her attention, gave her a big smile and a wave, pointed at my camera to indicate I’d like to take her picture, and the big smile came. A couple of pictures followed. It felt good to smile in a sincere heartfelt way. Good to know that, even when I couldn’t speak this lady’s language, God can give me a smile on the face and a smile in my voice. My day was brightened, and I’m sure hers was as well.

How magic, how powerful, a genuine smile can be! It can bring God’s shining light to those you meet – many of whom may need brightness in their lives.

I wondered, did Jesus smile at the people He met during his ministry? The Bible says nothing about that. But He must have when mothers brought their children to Him. What joy this must have brought this Man who was so full of love! How could He have welcomed them without smiling?

It makes me think: Jesus must have big smiles for you and me too. We too are children – dearly loved children of God. He wants to connect with us.