Jesus: A Light in the Darkness
by AnnaLisa Buol, Digital Marketing Manager
November 27, 2019
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
My birthday is six days before Christmas, so I’ve always been a bit standoffish about the hubbub. I will agree to a Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving because it smells delightful, but for everything else, I say, No! Wait! Not Yet! My birthday first. Then Christmas.
Recently I’ve changed my tune a bit, at least in part, because I needed the hope and anticipation of Christmas. As Advent begins, I set up my nativity, select some carols to listen to, and watch The Nativity Story bring Jesus’ birth to life. But still I’m sometimes uncomfortable with the bustle of Christmas that surrounds me—the 24/7 Christmas music, the Hallmark movies, the decorations covering the stores starting in October—because it skips over all the hardship and darkness, the pain and suffering, the loneliness, the fear, the waiting. And I think that if we completely ignore the struggle, we miss some of the story.
Last year, when I was in the midst of a season of isolation and suffering, I found myself thinking about Mary’s experience in a new way. Her life wasn’t easy. Her situation, though containing glimmers of light, was dark. She joyfully anticipated the birth of the Christ child, celebrating God’s gift and trusting Him. But she also left her town, hid her pregnancy for months, and then when she returned, her fiancé almost walked out on her. Even once Joseph decided to stay, Mary would have been shamed by her community. How lonely her pregnancy must have been!
As I lived through my own dark circumstances, I remembered that Jesus was born to parents who had just experienced an uncomfortable journey during an extended season of hardship. He came into a fallen world where people experience mourning, pain, unrealized dreams, uncertainty, and conflict—which is still our world today. And that’s exactly why the birth of Jesus is such good news. Jesus is light that comes into that darkness. He is with us in whatever we are going through, through whatever doesn’t make sense. He gives us glimmers of light in the present, and a hope for a future without darkness. A future spent with Him when death, mourning, crying, and pain are no more.
This year, as I wait for Christmas, it’s not going to be because of my birthday that I say, Wait. Not Yet. Instead, I want to bring new intention to my season of Advent by focusing on what I’m waiting for: Jesus, the Light of the World, come down into darkness, who is with us and gives us hope, comfort, and joy in this life . . . and forever.