Thursday, December 17, 2009

Darkness Diminished.

Do you ever have one of those days where it seems like all you hear is bad news? That was my day today. It seemed like it was one thing after another: Marriage trouble, job trouble, health trouble, family trouble ... over and over again I heard one sad thing after another. By the end of the day, I felt like someone was sitting on my chest. All that bad news gets heavy, you know?

Cub is staying with his grandparents while I volunteer at our church these past couple days, so Josh and I have had a little alone time (not much, but a little). I told him that I didn't think I could stand any more bad news. At least not for today.

And then I just got angry. You know? When people around you that you know and love, or people that perhaps you don't know but love their story ... why do these things happen? Stupid recession, stupid mistakes by some, stupid stupid stupid ... stupid sin, really. I think that was the weight I felt--just that oppressive, hopeless feeling of so much darkness.

I know that sounds ominous, but really, when these things start happening so close to home, it takes on a whole new dimension. And it hits hard.

I consider myself a pretty optimistic person, but today I was honestly grappling to find the good in today. I actually made myself sit down and think of the "good" things today: Cub's smile, time with family, conversations with my husband ... the things that have no monetary value and are thus the most valuable.

Ironically, this Sunday our church will be lighting the Joy candle in the Advent Wreath. I had to go back and find the reading for Sunday to try to dig up some joyful feelings amidst the sadness.

As with Peace, Joy can be difficult to find amidst the distractions and struggles we face this time of year. But, the charge from Paul to us to "rejoice in the Lord always!" remains true. Because, despite those things that stand in our way or the things that we allow to block the light of God's glory in our lives, God has given us more than enough for which to be joyful ... let our focus remain on what we know to be true: That God sent His only Son for us. That He broke through heaven to experience a human birth and a human life. He did not come in a blazing light of glory, nor were there trumpets heralding His way. He chose instead a manger as His place to begin an earthly life and He chose shepherds to celebrate His arrival. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords chose poverty. Christmas morning is a miracle. And friends, THAT is our reason for joy.

Rejoicing in the Lord, always, always, can be quite a charge. I remember how joyful I was when I wrote the reading--and now, only a few days later, I feel everything but joy. But maybe God placed those thoughts on my heart because He knew today would happen and that I would need to read them today--to remember what He has done for us. Especially this time of year. He chose poverty. He chose subtlety over audacity. And nothing--not pain, not bad health, not poverty--can diminish that truth.

I never know what to say to those around me who are hurting. But my prayer for them will be that truth. God sent His Son for us. And while this is something we celebrate all year long, this time of year is an especially poignant time to do so. He knows what they are going through and He already knows the outcome. He knows.

He knows.


  1. This is strange because I have had a whole week where I keep hearing bad news. BIG bad news - life altering big bad news with both my family and my friends. And it seems that several other people are experiencing the same thing this week. I don't think it's coincidental as we approach the celebration of Christ, that these devastating things surface. Satan is out to attack and to ruin and to demolish, and this week, in the circumstances I've been informed of, he has done a pretty good job of it. I've just been praying so much that these things will not alter our focus on Christ this week. And that through these circumstances, He will be glorified.

  2. So strange as I read this post and Whitney's comment, because I have been feeling the exact same way this week. I seriously just had to shut my office door yesterday and shed a few tears, just saddened by the sin and suffering that can sometimes seem so dominating. One of those weeks where we can only cling to the hope that comes from the life and light in Christ!