baby-j-silent-night-instaDo you ever feel like darkness is following you around like a shadow, hovering close?

I have felt like that this season.

It’s not that I’m depressed or Grinch-y or needing a jolt of coffee or a sleigh ride in a red dress under sparkly Christmas lights to goose my spirit into bursts of laughter and joy. I have plenty of joy! I do! It’s just that the joy in my heart seems to be holding hands with truth, and under truth’s skirt is the pain I’ve seen this year. The pain I saw this week and today, even. There is the suffering of people I know and love and the suffering of people I’ve never met.

That’s why I’m so grateful that we celebrate Christmas at this time of year. I realize that it’s more likely that Baby Jesus was born sometime in the spring or summer, but I’m thankful that right now, in the darkest week of the year, when we start wondering if it will ever get light again, we celebrate the birth of HOPE into our world! Hope, not in a flashy way, but in a vulnerable, crying, hungry way. I love to think about Hope arriving hungry- and that he grew up and changed the lives of people around him, not all over the world, at first, but in a tiny backwater among poor nobodies. His experience there was so amazing, so universe changing, that we’re still discovering who Jesus was and is today.

As I worship and celebrate, my favorite hymn, “O Holy Night,” plays in the background of my brain. If you’ve also noticed darkness at your heels, it might be just the right one for you too. The lines are perfect, like

Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
Does your soul feel its worth? Do you know how you are treasured by God, just as you are? It was/is part of Jesus’ mission to reveal this to us. In our weariness, it is thrilling indeed!
Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
ALL oppression shall cease in Jesus’ name. As Christians we’re called to work towards this. It’s comforting and strengthening to know that as we make it happen in his name, Jesus stands with us.
Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine
How could we do anything but fall on our knees in gratitude and joy?
Merry Christmas, friends!
See you in a brand new year!
Much love, Becky