By Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, December 1 2016

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2

The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are some of the darkest nights of the year. The nights are dark, too dark for some. For many Christians, these weeks mark the season of Advent. Advent gives us time for our eyes to adjust to the dark, so that we may see the light of Christ and Christmas lights in a new way. This time of preparation for Christmas is meant to remind us of the world’s darkness so that we might rejoice at the world’s redemption in the light of the Christmas story.

So, rather than turning up the manufactured lights of the season a few weeks early, what would it be like to intentionally allow the shadows to fall upon our life, to allow our eyes to adjust to the dark? By taking note of the darkness of this world and the darkness within us, we may begin to see the power of Christmas lights in a new way. As we enter the Advent season, we work to create space for the image of God to be developed in our midst. We dim the lights, so that the light of Christ may shine. We will carefully guard our time and space as a worshiping community. We need to sit and soak in the darkness in order to appreciate the light. It is tempting to rush past Advent, but doing so would cause us to miss an image of God that we would not otherwise see. It takes time for us to get acquainted with our need for grace.

You can only see the beauty of Christmas lights in the dark. Allow this season of darkness and light to develop grace and may the image of Christ shine in your life in a new way.