I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Christmas. When December comes, I often feel like a character in “Charlie Brown Christmas,” complaining how the holidays have got me down. The busyness and commercialism that surround modern Christmas seasons wear at my soul. Add onto that the difficulty of going through a supposedly “happy” season when a loved one is sick, has recently died, or life is just otherwise hard.
Last November when I started getting these Christmas blues, something wonderful happened. Instead of moping about like Charlie Brown or giving in like Lucy Van Pelt, I got a little bit of Linus going on in me. Something triggered me to wake up from my pity party and start redeeming Christmas.
Actually, I never had to redeem Christmas. For God did that a long time ago. It was more a remembering of all that I loved and held dear about these Advent and Christmas seasons.
In particular, I was inspired by an affirmation of faith that we read one night during Evening Prayer at the Light at Bare Bulb Coffee. We were praying these words from the Northumbira community, “Lord, you have always lightened this darkness of mine; and though the night is here, today I believe.” This prayer resonated deep within my soul and stayed there.
We were at that time of year when the the time had already changed and the days were getting markedly shorter. As I moved through the darkness of the season, I let myself actually feel the darkness that was within me. For the first time, the darkness was actually bearable because I knew that it was limited. As the growing nights of winter eventually reach their climax and then give way again to the reign of the sun, so the darkness within us is lightened and then conquered by the coming of Christ.
During these days of revelation, I began to write. And I wrote and I wrote . . . and eventually God and I had created something. 37 days of somethings that I put together in a little package and now would like to offer you. It is a package that holds Scripture verses and lines from favorite hymns. Within you’ll find stories of travel to northern lands where solstice history runs deep and visits to Gullah islands where spiritual truths come alive. It tells of saintly characters like Lucy and Nicholas who shine like stars in our sky.
But most of all I hope you will find messages of hope. That even in our darkest of days, God is with us. And not only with us but helping to lighten the weight of the darkness within and without. For this great season of coming is also the path to our salvation. The Light has come into this broken world and though the darkness may threaten, it never really stands a chance. This is a hope that shines so brightly within us that it can turn even our messy selves into a light for others in this world.
If you too are looking for something to bring hope and meaning back to your Advent and Christmastide . . .
You can find Lighten the Darkness as an e-book on Amazon.com or the Nook store. I hope it will bring you much comfort this December and onward. If you want to spread this hope, writing reviews on Amazon will greatly helps others find their way to this resource. Or simply share this blog post on your favorite social media by clicking the buttons below.
And thanks for reading this post. I’m more amazed and grateful that people take the time to read my words than you could know.