Read Romans 8:35-39, Isaiah 9:2
For many people, the Christmas season is not a happy time. It may invoke painful memories of happier times now past or thoughts of loved ones no longer present with us. Many are facing a terrible crisis or disappointment during this time, and the merriment observed in others stings like salt rubbed into a wound. Or, maybe the true significance of the event we celebrate seems to get lost in frenetic activity, and, in our more reflective moments, we feel lost and empty inside.
If this describes your mood during this time, there is good news. Just as darkness may serve to help us better notice the source of light, dim though it may be, difficult times can open us up to receive healing and hope from a Source that may otherwise go unnoticed. Our deepest needs can serve to heighten our sensitivity to things that go below the surface of our struggles to help us meet them and go through them.
Romans 8 helps us to look beyond the temporal circumstances of our lives to the things that give all of life meaning and purpose. The dryness we feel can help us absorb that meaning deeply, like rain falling on parched soil. Though it may not change our immediate condition, reflection on the good news of this message can nourish our spirit in ways other sources of comfort can’t.
In the evening, after dark, find a room in your home that you can make as dark as possible. Light a small candle and set it across the room from where you will be sitting. Turn off all the lights and sit quietly with just the light of the candle. Think about today’s scripture passage and speak to God about your own feelings. Then just sit and listen. What thoughts come to mind? Take as much time as you need.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,on them has light shone.” (Isaiah 9:2)
If you know someone who is going through a difficult time, pray for that person.
Lord, Your light overcomes darkness. Help me to see and understand that nothing separates me from Your love and care. May I see beyond present circumstances, be they difficult or pleasant, to the overwhelming significance of Your will and ways of working in this world. Thank You for the part that our lives have in your purposes. Amen.
Paul and his wife, Mary Beth, are a part of the O’Brien’s City Group.