In a neighborhood of predominantly working parents (both parents have jobs), one woman tells me that seeing the light on in the house at the end of the street gave her great comfort and encouragement. This represented someone besides herself that stayed at home to manage it, guard it, raise the children, and look after her husband. She especially liked to see the light on evenings when she had to stay up late for something or other. One day, the family at the end of the street sold the house and moved away to be closer to their own parents and help them out. My friend said, "I miss seeing her light on. Although we didn't often visit, it always cheered me up to see that light. The new people both work, and the house rarely has lights on."
You might have read about some of the customs of the Israelites when they settled in the land of Canaan. Because of the problem of thieves at night, little lamps filled with oil were kept lit and put in windowsills of the houses. Anyone coming near would assume that there was someone in the house, and not bother it. This makes the verse from Proverbs 31, "Her lamp does not go out at night" more understandable. Some historians think that women often worked late into the night sewing or working on some kind of industry to sell the next day. Whatever it was, it was considered a mark that someone was on guard at home.
You might not think anyone notices you, if you are at home in an empty neighborhood while everyone leaves the home to go to work for a corporation of some sort. Your influence is there, however. Deep in their hearts, people know it is right for women to stay and guard the home, and if your light was not on, they would notice it. If they did not think that staying home was something they wanted to do, they would still likely feel vastly let down and disappointed if you left your post to do someone else's business. The world knows that women function best at home, and that the home benefits most when the woman is present.
While there are hundreds of people who can fill the positions in offices and other businesses, there is only one person in the world who can rightly fill the position of the wife and mother in the home. You might not know how far your influence is reaching, but just give up your position at home, and you would find out. Someone would surely miss seeing your light on, and with that light, the message it gives out about you and your life.
This illustration can also be translated into the effect of the Christian life on the world. While the neighborhoods may be dark with houses of those who do not follow in The Way, every Christian is a light, in some way, to someone else. Everywhere there is a Christian, is a light turned on. Thus in a dark city, the real lights are those of the Christians scattered here and there. If you are practicing the Christian values of marriage, home, and family, in a town where few or no people have a high regard for these things, think of yourself as a light turned on, showing the way to those who are lost.
There is an old song, "Let the Lower Lights Be Burning" which is about Christians being spiritual lighthouses, sending a beam across the waves. It ends with the words, "Some poor fainting, struggling seaman, you may rescue, you may save." The lower lights of a lighthouse are the ones that beam across the water to those who have lost their way at sea. (see the words here http://members.warpnet.net/karin/images/zlower.html)
Phi 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;