Thursday, December 21, 2017

Blue Christmas

Today was the shortest day of year. Tonight is the longest night. Tomorrow, we will have one more minute of day light. How easy it is to take  light for granted, until that day we celebrate the mere moments of brightness given back to us, and we remember just how powerful the Light is.

This evening, like the past three years, I attended a Blue Christmas service. It was a time to reflect and pray for the broken things of this world. And also a time to proclaim,

The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it
(John 1:5).

We began the evening with a reading of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. It really isn’t an Advent or Christmas passage, but it fits so well, and it’s something my heart needed to hear:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

The story of Christ’s birth is not a stationary story. It is made up of so many opposing moments, many of which hold immense pain and suffering, but which God, in His wisdom, has brought together to form the history of His people, Israel. Just as Advent is a time to celebrate Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love, it is also a time when we can do just the opposite. We can climb into the pain with those who are hurting; kneel beside those who are weeping; scream at the injustice of it all; question God’s timing . . . and then stand up, re-read the message of the prophets, and look Heaven-ward with expectation.

We can trace Christ’s lineage from its humble, broken, weary beginnings, and see the residue of God’s faithful plan in every smooth and rugged crevice.

That’s when we know: we have all walked in deep darkness, but on us, a great Light has shined.

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