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Holy Everything: Unwrap the ultimate gift this season

December 30, 2018

The light has come to dwell among us; it’s shining all the time. Yet, so very often, I live like I’m wandering aimlessly and endlessly in the dark: afraid, uncertain and insecure.

I pray that the year ahead is a season of embracing the radiance of Jesus, proclaimer of hope and healer of the wounded. What’s the purpose of having access to a flame of love that burns forever if I rarely make spiritual space for it?

I find it natural to acknowledge and celebrate the existence of the light of Christ. It’s a joy to me to talk about Jesus and explore the profound impact he has had on the world. However, I’m not often quick to actually sit beside him and allow him to be a source of illumination and guidance in the day-to-day routines of life. Perhaps I’m afraid of inconveniencing Jesus, or more likely, my tendencies toward self-reliance have led to a lifetime of trying to rig up manufactured light sources of my own (which never stay lit for long).

We’re in the midst of the 12 days of Christmas. This is a season of celebration and rejoicing. Instead of quickly shifting back into tireless to-do lists and resolutions galore, we instead get to rest in the wonder of a God who dwells among us. Thanks be to our Creator that the party isn’t limited to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The unwrapping of this most ultimate gift requires more time; that time is now.

In the Old Testament book of Isaiah, the prophet proclaims, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness, on them light has shined” (Isaiah 9:2). John, in the New Testament, predicts, “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (John 1:9). There are a multitude of references in the Bible to Jesus’ bright and revolutionary radiance.

The light Jesus ushers into the world is important; the darkness is, too. If everything was pure luminescence, would we even recognize Jesus? The Isaiah text references an important truth about existence: sometimes we traverse in the dark. This isn’t just one or two of us. It’s all of us. Like Robert Robinson penned in his famous hymn, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”: “Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it.” Sometimes the wandering is of our own design. Other times, for reasons completely out of our control, we navigate life in the dark, and it’s hard. Making a way in such conditions can be excruciating.

In those times, when bleak hopelessness obscures everything, we are acutely aware of how much even a flicker of illumination helps. The presence of the light makes all the difference. It’s in those cautious steps, sometimes navigating by just a small flame, that we learn, grow and build a life and a self. The darkness and the light are our teachers.

We can’t avoid all obscurities, but we can step through them knowing that we all carry a light who came into the world so we would never be alone.

Let these 12 days of Christmas be our time to take stock of where we’ve been and where we’re headed. How will we carve space to live in the light of hope, love and forgiveness in the season ahead? Are there spaces of deep darkness in your life that would benefit from illumination? Save a seat for Jesus in your life in 2019. Invite him close. Trust that he wants to be with you and you deserve all that radiant love in your life. I’ll do my best to trust that same truth.

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