The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shown. Isaiah 9:2
I love when the clocks fall back for daylight savings. I always thought it was because all that cold and darkness gives me a reason to hunker down and hibernate. It’s the time of year I don’t feel all the spring and summer pressure to get outside, create great adventures, and strive to “seize the day.”
Too much sunshine overwhelms me. Not only do I physically overheat in ten seconds flat, but when everything is illuminated, I get confused: I don’t know what to prioritize. For fear of letting balls drop, I prioritize everything. Then I get manic.
I run around like a chicken with my head cut off: trying to create fun memories with my kids, keeping up with housework and my to-do list, fostering deep and meaningful friendships, investing in my marriage, challenging myself with things to nurture and grow my spirit, etc. The end result is I burn out, and I am miserable.
Yes, all those elements are important in creating a balanced and fulfilling life. But I convince myself I have to contribute to each aspect every single day. Just writing about it causes me to hyperventilate.
When my sister-in-law passed away a few weeks ago, the darkness had my crazy world screeching to a halt. Suddenly my priorities became crystal clear: buy plane tickets, get childcare, travel to Maryland for her services. Nothing else mattered.
The loss of someone we dearly loved illuminated our next priority: spend more quality time with our kids. The Saturday after we got home, my husband and I created our first ever Family Christmas Party (a new tradition I hope to keep forever). For hours and hours, all we did was play Christmas game after Christmas game, just the five of us. I’ve never had so much fun with my little family before!
On Christmas Eve morning, when it was dark and gloomy, I lit the candles on my Advent wreath. That flickering light left the dirty dishes, unmade beds, and list of things to do in the shadows. Instead, it cast a glow over The Infant in the crib, leading my eye to what matters most on the eve of one of the holiest days of the year.
Romans 8:28 talks about God using all things for His purpose, darkness and gloom included. The Taoist parable of the farmer and his horse poses the questions: Who’s to say what’s bad or good? Both teach us that what can seem like a bad thing initially, usually brings some aspect of good.
When we light a candle of faith to expel the darkness, God always illuminates the good in the midst of the pain, loss, or gloom. In fact, sometimes it’s the only way we’ll ever see our true priorities, notice the lesson we’re meant to learn, or recognize the path God wants us to take. With the right perspective, all is gift, including the darkness.
Questions For Reflection:
* Am I facing some pain, loss, or darkness right now?
* Have I lit a candle of faith in the midst of that darkness?
* What is the bright light of God trying to illuminate for me?