Tall lighthouses have helped steer ships away from dangerous rocks and to safety for thousands of years. Almost 300 years before the birth of Jesus, the Egyptians built a lighthouse that was 330 feet tall. That’s taller than the Statue of Liberty!
The Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt had bronze mirrors that reflected sunlight during the day and firelight at night. That light guided ships safely into the harbor. A tall tower with a light at the top has usually been the pattern for lighthouses ever since.
Lighthouses in America
The British built the first lighthouse in America in Boston harbor in 1716. Lighthouses were costly to build, though, so just a few more were built during colonial times.
When America gained independence, it didn’t have many good roads. Travel and trade were faster and easier by sea. Lighthouses helped keep ships and their passengers and cargoes safe at sea and as they entered harbors.
In 1789, one of the first acts of the new Congress was to pass a bill to maintain existing lighthouses and build new ones. One of the first to be built was Portland Head Lighthouse in 1791. President George Washington signed the commission for Captain Joseph Greenleaf to be its first keeper.
The Light of the World
Portland Head’s light can be seen 24 miles out to sea. That powerful light guides ships through the dark to a safe harbor. We have an even more powerful light in Jesus Christ. In John 8:12 Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” And the place Jesus guides us to is an eternal safe harbor with Him.
This lighthouse is also in Portland Harbor. It’s much smaller than the other lighthouses, but it has a big job to do. It guides ships safely around a breakwater.
Even if you’re small like the Portland Breakwater Lighthouse, you can be a light to the world, too. Whenever you say a kind word to a friend or help your parents, Jesus says your good deeds are like a light guiding others to God.
Don’t hide your light like Molly is doing in this photo!
What is one way you could shine brightly like a small lighthouse this week?
Before You Go
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Molly hopes you enjoyed this devotion and will join us next week for a fun art project about lighthouses.