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A Light in the Dark

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My four year old son and I have developed a fun new tradition for ourselves. We call it “secret jammie night walks.” After I put his little sister to bed, we change into our pajamas and walk around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights. Our neighborhood has some truly great light displays this year. Even though it’s been pitch black dark for at least two hours, the lights are so bright that we leave our flashlights at home.

One of my favorite Christmas carol lines is, “A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices//For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!” Doesn’t that ring true? Doesn’t the world – or at least our lives – feel weary some days? I have been tuning out the news recently. Maybe you have as well. There seems to be bad news pressing in on us from all corners of the world, local and global.

There are personal stories of sadness all around us too. Our neighbor’s son tragically passed away. A family member was diagnosed with cancer. One friend faces a broken engagement and another faces a miscarriage. Some days it is hard to summon the festive “merry and bright” cheer that the holiday season seems to demand. Let me tell you some good news, Christmas and Chanukah are holidays of hope, not of hoopla. They celebrate great acts of faith in hopeless times. They fall in the darkest part of the year, yet we know that spring is just around the corner.

Even though our days have grown shorter, twinkle lights have burst all over our neighborhood, bringing light to the dark. We light candles in the evening, gathering as a family or with friends, remembering the past and looking forward to the future. There is something brave about choosing light and love and joy in the midst of the dark. Laughter-filled holiday parties, baking sweet treats with your children, and exchanging presents as acts of love and care take on new meaning when we recognize how revolutionary they are. The world is dark and cold and we should be giving up hope… but we press on.

There are about three weeks left in 2014. Take some time to reflect– what were your joys this year? What were your sorrows? What gave you energy? What sapped your strength? Are there relationships that surprised you or disappointed you this year? Light candles and let them represent your hope for the future. Even though the flame – and the hope – might be small, it still repels the darkness. It still bears light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 17, 2014

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