“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.” Isaiah 9:2
Christmas is a season of light. We love to drive around this month after sunset, looking for yards that are wildly decorated with gazillions of multi-colored lights and lawn ornaments. Yet all the festivity comes at the darkest time of the year. As sunlight fades, so do our spirits.
I can’t say that we should love darkness. This time of year is especially tough for people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), struggling through the weightiness of long nights and limited sunlight. But darkness is actually something we should appreciate. It gives us deeper sleep…the darker and cooler the room, the more restful our nights.
Without darkness, we wouldn’t love the light. When things are going swimmingly for us in sunlit moments, we’re rarely cognizant of our need for help beyond ourselves. It’s only in the deepest, gloomiest, dimmest moments of life that we begin looking for light. And it’s in those dark places that God both illuminates and guides us with His light if we seek Him.
Just as a seed must be buried in darkness before it can grow, we can only grow in our faith and bear significant fruit for God if we have been shrouded in the depths. And even as that same plant is drawn to sunlight at the surface, we crave the light of God’s countenance upon us. We need the light of Christmas.
My friend Rebecca Henderson* has reminded me that the shortest and darkest day of the year—the winter solstice in our northern hemisphere on Dec. 21—is just a few days before the Light of the World arrives on our calendar. All those Christmas lights sparkling out there? We only get to enjoy their beauty after dark, and now we have longer nighttimes to see them!
So if you find yourself surrounded by darkness this Christmas—whether physical or emotional, in the national news or in your home—close your eyes and breathe a prayer to the Light that dispels all gloom. Invite Him and His marvelous light into your world.
Jesus Christ, Light of the World, shine into the dark moments of our lives this Christmas. Send Your glorious presence into our gloom and despair, filling us with Your rays of hope and peace. Let us reflect Your light as we become Your beacons to others around us. In the light of Your love, Amen.
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*Rebecca has launched her own blog, “As We Serve With Significance”—she is a lovely example and cheerleader for “servant leadership.” Check out her comments at https://asweservewithsignificance.com!