Friday, December 4, 2020

Coming of the Light

Advent: In Latin, the word means coming. Thus, the season of Advent is when we, as Christians, prepare our hearts to celebrate the coming of Jesus. 

Full disclosure: I often begin the season with a heart toward advent. But when the busyness of the holiday ramps up, I find myself more focused on the comings and goings of my family -- Christmas parties here, Christmas concerts there, Christmas cards to create, and presents to buy and wrap -- than on the miracle of Christ's coming.

But 2020.

As much as I hate it, there are no comings to anticipate this season. I won't get to host Wade's department Christmas party. His staff, whom I adore, won't be coming to our home. I won't get to gather Cate's friends for cookie-baking. There will be no gaggle of giggling girls coming to gather in my kitchen. Family won't be traveling here. I miss my Mama and the anticipation of showing her around Delaware. The comings will just be very slim in deed.

So I am committed to focusing on advent. I am working to focus on the miracle of this season, rather than the worries, the aloneness, the scary that has been this year. I am working to focus on the coming of light.

"In [Jesus] was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John 1:4-5

I love light. I am an 80s teen who would put my lawn chair on our back patio and lay with the sun beating down on me in such a way that I could see the light through my closed eyelids. (We won't talk about the baby oil slathered on my body or the lemon juice in my hair....) I am the homeowner who leaves windows uncovered to maximize the sunshine that can come in. I am a lover of lamps and bright bulbs and frankly drive my family crazy because I like the family room fully lit even during movie night.

This fall, I took a little corner of our yard and turned it in to a gathering spot. The area already had a fire pit but I added poles and string lights and nothing is as magical for me as having those lights aglow. We gathered back there in early fall before the lights were added, the only illumination coming from the fire. It was dark. And so the lights were added. Oh my goodness, the minute the string lights are plugged in, the entire area lights up and makes it easy to see any one gathered there.

So far, the only negative is how far the spot is from our house making the trek for s'mores fixings, or hot cocoa a bit of a hike. Recently we were out there, and once we had carted everything back to the house, I went out to turn the lights off. The fire was almost out, few embers were glowing, And so the second I unplugged the lights, I was thrust into darkness as black as tar. I couldn't see anything and just had to trust my knowledge of the yard to make my way back to the house.

When I reached the sanctuary of our warm home, I looked back at this my new favorite outdoor area, with anticipation of the next time we would gather there, with those delightful string lights aglow.

This morning, I keep thinking of that anticipation -- isn't that exactly what Advent is? We are filled with the anticipation of the one who is the light in our darkness. For all the horror of this 2020 year, the light of Jesus is no less bright. This season might -- and definitely does -- look different in many ways. But we can still celebrate the light that came into this world in the most unlikely of ways. We can still celebrate the light of Jesus. 

Jesus shines in the darkness -- even the darkness of 2020. And the darkness has not -- and will not -- overcome him.

That is worth an entire season of celebrating.

Carol - The Blessings Counter