The end-of-the-year holidays are tricky…that’s an understatement, it can be a roller coaster. There’s lots of JOYful busyness…shopping; making crafts for gifts and decorating the home; baking and cooking for the season that shuns diets–feasts to feed family and friends, or to enjoy solo by video while practicing ‘social distancing’.
For many, especially since the Pandemic began, the holidays are shadowy alleys–if not dark dread-filled valleys. Losses of family and friends; financial devastation; worries, anxiety, heartache and depression…and the wondering: when will things get better?
“Bleak” is such a little, deceptively benign-sounding word…at least to my ears. That’s probably because one of my best coping techniques is humor–it’s part of my Big Three: Faith in God, Gratitude, Laughter. So when I tell my best friend, “I’m in the Bleak”, she knows it usually means a quickly passing mood…perhaps something caused a wrinkle in my day but it’ll be okay. I can often tweak my bleak a bit and be happy-skippy again.
But holiday bleak is a different animal altogether. These days we need more resources (beyond financial) to manage for ourselves, and help others. We need extra grace, patience, kindness, smiles (since we’re not supposed to hug right now), and a double measure of humor, faith and HOPE. With shorter days, there’s more darkness…we need Huge LIGHT.
So I went wild, decorating for Christmas…I bought a dozen new strings of lights even though the old ones still worked, not taking a chance on “not enough” sparkle. I got boxes of candles too, battery ones and some that emit a burning flame.
The best thing I do during darkening days is to soak up as much Light of Jesus as I can–He’s the Living Light of the World, darkness can NEVER extinguish His Light.
When I snapped this photo of my bedroom window–where I started my “let’s go lights!” project–the contrast was intriguing and reminded me of a favorite Bible passage. It describes the Ninth Plague, Darkness. Exodus 10:21-23, New King James Version:
“21Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, [b]darkness which may even be felt.” 22So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. 23They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.”
The first time I read this was long ago when I was Depressed All The Time, so the concept of ‘darkness that can be felt’ was very relatable. That’s the way I felt…encompassed by DARK.
But years later, having read it many times, I eventually caught the revelation in the last sentence, verse 23. Imagine…it’s so dark no one can see one another, too dark to rise from their place for 3 days. BUT, there’s supernatural light in the homes of God’s children (the Israelites)…not candles or lanterns, because otherwise everyone would have had light.
It was light God provided only and specifically for the children of Israel. It was a foreshadowing of the Light to come–JESUS.
If you’re suffering darkness this season, I understand, and I encourage you to reach out for Jesus–He’ll grab your hand, and His loving light will enfold you. If you can, string up some colorful Christmas lights…and read the Good News, starting in the Book of Matthew where we meet all those folks who’ve been portrayed in a gazillion Christmas plays.
See yourself in the story–it’s truly an adventure! God came down, as Baby Jesus, to save us all from Eternal Darkness. He came to have a personal love-relationship with each one of us! He came as God’s gift of Grace and Peace, to give us Life Abundantly. It’s a free gift–simply Believe and Receive HIM.
And if you already know Him, maybe it’s time to light a candle and have an honest conversation…stop trying to be brave and saintly, just tell Him how you feel. Trust me, He’s been there and He gets you…years ago He told me, “I don’t mind if you’re angry, just don’t shut me out–keep the communication flowing”. When we talk, He listens…when we pray, He answers…sometimes in remarkable, miraculous ways.
May you be blessed, Rene♥
© Rene Barnabas, 2021 ~ All rights reserved.
Bible verses courtesy of biblehub.com