Holidays

A Light Will Shine

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“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” (Isaiah 9:2)

 

Photo Credit: Northern Lights (4) | greenzowie | Flickr

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There is Hope

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It may not seem to be the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, with all that’s going on. It may not feel like the hap-happiest season of all. Yet if a song beautiful as Silent Night could be written in the midst of war, there is hope. God’s light is great enough to overcome the deepest darkness.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Winter, Night, Blue, Shade, Trees – Free Image on …

In Dark Times

 

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On this side of the world, Christmas comes at the darkest time of the year. How appropriate that in the darkest of days we’re blessed with candles and lights and words of hope. And how appropriate that come Christmas, the darkest days have passed.

 

Photo Credit:Christmas Lamp Post  | Flickr | by Shandi-lee

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

Candle for ChristmasChristmas music is typically associated with feelings of joy. This year, it’s stirring something different in me. Something more somber, melancholy—the words and melodies clashing with news of endless bloodshed and senseless violence. Where is the hope these songs proclaim?

Instead of nostalgic feelings of happier days, I’m reminded of a scene in the late Robin Williams’ movie Good Morning Vietnam. Sobered by the brutality of war, Williams’ usually upbeat character cues the song What a Wonderful World. As Louis Armstrong sings about trees of green, red roses, rainbows, and friends shaking hands, horrific images from the tragic war scroll by in ironic dissonance with the lyrics, such words of hope gravely failing to mirror the surrounding reality.

My playlist continues as I scroll through the headlines. Can it get any darker than it already is? On this side of the world, Christmas comes at the darkest time of the year. How appropriate that in the darkest of days we’re blessed with candles and lights and words of hope. And how appropriate that come Christmas, the darkest days have passed. From here forward, the sun will shine longer and brighter, increasing each day until summer comes again.

The very first Christmas was a time of political unrest and social upheaval, a king so evil and power hungry he would resort to killing innocent children to protect his throne. In the midst of such evil, hope came alive—a hope great enough to inspire beautiful songs written in times of deep darkness.

It may not seem to be the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, with all that’s going on. It may not feel like the hap-happiest season of all. Yet if a song beautiful as Silent Night could be written in the midst of war, there is hope. God’s light is great enough to overcome the deepest darkness.

Never Alone

Blog_Christmas_SadHow can we celebrate a season built around relationships and family when we feel alone? We could be surrounded by people, but still feel like a barren tree in the middle of an empty forest. The snow is falling all around, and the tree is frozen from the deepest root to the highest branch. But no one seems to notice.

Just as that tree lost all its leaves in the midst of autumn, we might feel we’ve lost everything and won’t make it through the winter season of bitter coldness and death. The Bible speaks of a woman who had lost everything in life. Her name was Anna. She was widowed only seven years into her marriage, and there is no mention of her having had children. She stayed in the temple, fasting and praying. And waiting.

Maybe she watched the people who came to the temple—seeing families with children, and wondering why she suffered such loss in her own life. In her day, society looked down upon widows and often presumed that some sin led to their desolate condition. But God saw Anna’s heart, and chose her to be among the first to embrace the child who would one day die to bring salvation to the world.

What was she thinking when she saw the baby? The Bible doesn’t say except that she “gave thanks to God and spoke of the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” To redeem is to take something that is bad and turn it into something that is good. It’s when God takes the ashes of our lives and turns them into something beautiful; when God uses the death of autumn and the silence of winter to bring about the life of spring. Anna knew that God was going to take her difficult circumstances and turn them into something good. And He did.

Just like He did for all those who had gone before her—those who were part of the lineage of the Savior. Among them were widows who, like herself, had lost everything: Tamar, Ruth and Bathsheba. Each story in the history of our Savior involves loss, but also reveals how God is able to take the trials of our lives and turn them into testimonies. And each story reminds us that even when we’ve lost everything, we’re never alone.

In the midst of war and battle, drought and famine, slavery and loss, our Savior came. Our Savior is also called “Immanuel.” It means “God is with us.” And He is.

More than our Presents

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More than our presents, our kids need our presence. They want, and need, us. IN their lives. It’s the greatest gift we can give, to them…and to ourselves.

 

Photo Credit: A Christmas Gift Free Stock Photo – Public Domain Pictures

Our Greatest Opportunity

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If in pursuit of making our kids happy we rob them of our presence in their lives, we’ve missed our greatest opportunity. What they need is relationship—not with a screen, a gadget, or a piece of plastic, but with the people most important in their lives.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Christmas, Star, Winter, Family – Free Image on …