Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Lights of Christmas

I have always been afraid of the dark.  Since childhood it has hovered over me as a dark entity, solid and real like some sort of demon just on the edge of my vision.  It left me not with the exhilarating thrill that rushes up through the stomach and into the heart, the kind that makes one vibrate with life, but rather the sort of sick wrongness that reeks of the stench of death.  I tried night lights as a child but they only seemed to manipulate the dark.  It bunched in corners and gathered behind doors, looming, waiting for its dark friend sleep to draw me under and claim me as a victim.  The presence of a brother, a father, a mother, a friend was the only thing that robbed this monster of its solidness, banished it to its true form.  I cowered alone but found strength with others.

This has followed me into adulthood, like a second shadow clinging to my being.  It has brought friends along with it; exhaustion, desperation, depression, guilt.  If I truly trusted the Lord I would not fear.  How can I say I love Him when I let the darkness rob me of my peace.  I am a failure, a fraud, a hypocrite.  This darkness has become my accuser and I have listened to it, allowing its words to drown out all other voices.  Like a corpse crushed at the bottom of the sea, when this darkness comes I feel utterly helpless.

But I am not a corpse, and, as John 1:5 says, "the darkness has not overcome" the Light.  My journey is slow.  It ebbs and flows.  One night I sleep in peace, the next I stare at the ceiling, pumped full of sickening adrenaline, but there is forward progression.  I am seeing the Light of the world pushing back the dark that has always hunted me, and not just brushing it into corners or behind doors but revealing His Lordship over it.  The dark is not an entity on its own, it has no power that was not given it, and it will not overcome.

As I was driving home tonight from babysitting, I took a moment to wind through my neighborhood and look at the Christmas lights.  Because we are not allowed streetlights in Fullbrook, the stars are starkly visible on a clear night, but during the advent season thousands of twinkling strands spread their light together.  They glow with a warmth that is felt even in the Texas heat, with the reminder that the Light of life came into our darkness to slay it and cast it down.

John 1: 1-18 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

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