When it comes to the Christmas Season and its traditions, each of us enjoy something different. For some, Christmas is about putting up Christmas decor and Christmas lights. For others, it’s sending Christmas cards and gifts or gathering with family. Others get to enjoy non-stop parties or visit places where spectacular illuminations are held.
This year I have been listening to Christmas music from old classics to new favorites. Most of the songs proclaim that it’s the happiest season of all, but not all of them. Rudolph is a bullied, handicapped reindeer. Frosty befriends some children and then melts away. On a more serious side, I’ll be Home for Christmas, written during the height of World War II, ends with the person being home “only in [his] dreams”. Blue Christmas and Last Christmas are about heartbreak and loneliness, while Christmas Shoes, a true tearjerker, is about a little boy buying a special present for his dying mother. These songs resonate with people not only because they’re catchy but also because the words echo their thoughts and feelings. Do sad songs speak to you? Do the songs and emotions they bring to the surface make this dark night even darker?
Isaiah says, “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) While Isaiah was announcing good news, he was also acknowledging the reality of the darkness. Not physical darkness, but something worse, a spiritual, emotional, and mental darkness that blinds us, a darkness that is impenetrable and never-ending, and one that is not imaginary or just in our heads. The darkness is real, powerful and persistent and it is not something that would go away if we just ignore it.
I have counseled a number of severely bullied foreign migrants and refugee kids in the past and I know what it’s like to not have friends. Let’s face it, real life seldom ends with the victim suddenly playing the hero, and bullies don’t often change their ways. So, to be a Rudolph, or one of the other misfits who are lonely, bullied, or friendless is to sit in the dark.
Other events that bring on darkness – separation in couples, or divorce can cast a shadow on the lives of their children and extended families. Stressed out parents bickering or yelling at their children bring gloom to the joyous season. Halls aren’t decked with boughs of holly when people live miles away from home. There’s also not a lot of fa la la la la when finances are tight and bills aren’t getting paid.
The merriment of the Christmas season can also be darkened by the stress and sorrow over a sick and hurting loved one. It’s an unfortunate truth that chronic illnesses don’t take Christmas vacations. When those illnesses turn to death, the holidays become a dark time, similar to the darkness that comes with the heartache of being away from home.
The darkness of sin such as sorrow, grief, loneliness, anger, regret – all these extinguish the lights of the joyous season. With that darkness, they might want to avoid anything to do with Christmas – songs, trees, lights or parties. Perhaps instead of avoiding Christmas, they might do everything Christmas-y, all the while forcing smiles and laughter. The Darkness can seem unrelenting and unending, but I assure you that it isn’t, because the Light has come.
You might have walked in the darkness, but one night in the city of David, a Savior for you (and for the world!) was born. The Savior – the Light has dispelled the horrible darkness. John puts it this way, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5).
Jesus the Savior is the Light of the World and He has come to give you true hope and life and peace. His peace isn’t coming, it’s already here! Your hope isn’t on the way, it’s already here! The peace which the angels sang about is here! This peace is between you and God so you can be sure that He is with you in the dark times. You may not see Him, but He sees you. Santa supposedly knows when you are sleeping and when you are awake, but he can’t do anything for you. God though, He can and He will.
In Psalm 34:17-20, we are promised, “When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.”
Look up for the Light of the World has dawned on you. That Light is Christ! But don’t just take my word for it, take His, for it is God’s truth, His Word that is written in the Bible. You have lived in deep darkness, but the Savior Christ Jesus, has conquered it completely. The darkness must give way to the Light because Jesus Christ of Christmas is Light which has been given to you.