“And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness – secret riches.” (Isaiah 45:3)
Grief visited this week. It threw shadows across my path as family and friends grieved over the loss of loved ones. People were left with sadness, tears in their eyes and empty spaces in their homes. There really were no words to say.
When hard times come, when the darkness has crept into our day, we can know that God is there with us, close. For He is close to the broken hearted. He knows our pain, our loss. He hears our whispers of fear and hurt and He catches every tear that we shed.
In during these times, we will discover treasures in the darkness. Treasures of God’s grace as we find the strength to get through. Treasures of friends gathering to show their love and care. Treasures of prayers and an awareness of God calling people to pray. Treasures of a deeper revelation of God’s love for us.
We find the laughter and the light grows stronger and brighter again.
The darker the night,
The brighter the day,
The fiercer the fight,
The stronger the faith,
So I place my hope in You
(Kristene Mueller – Redemption)
The room was gloomy in the morning. Like a blanket the gloom slipped over me too. Everything felt dreary and depressing. The luminous colour of life had gone. Dullness left in its place. But then I opened the curtains and the early morning sun and light blazed in. The sunlight outside beckoning joy and life. Colour returned.
I am reminded of the saying “Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind.” I let the rays of sunlight warm my face, but more importantly I turned my soul towards Jesus. Circumstances didn’t change, but I was strengthened by His grace, the shadows of life that threatened to overwhelm fell behind. .
Colour returned to the world around me. Indeed life returned.
“You called, you cried, you shattered my deafness. You sparkled, you blazed, you drove away my blindness. You shed your fragrance, and I drew in my breath and I pant for you.” (St Augustine)
Christmas time it seems the ordinary becomes special. Lights on Christmas trees sparkle in darkened rooms. Houses glimmer with fairy lights like diamonds on a crown. Candles in Churches glow in warmth.
Light it seems is an important part of celebrating Christmas. Just as it was on that very first Christmas. A star in the sky guided Wise men to the baby Jesus. Shepherds were greeted by a shining angelic display in the night sky bringing the great news of the birth of Jesus.
But Christmas is not just celebrating the birth of a baby. Christmas is celebrating how God came to earth to dwell among us as a man. It is the beginning of an incredible journey of reconciliation, hope and love by our God. You see, the baby in the manger grew to become a man – but no ordinary man. He came to bring us life. He came to bring forgiveness. And ultimately He came to lay down His life for us and vanquish death by rising from the dead.
Jesus came to be the light in our darkness. Light is needed when there is darkness, for darkness always flees before light. Just as a night light dispels shadows that scare, Jesus came to be the Light of the World where hopelessness, fear, worry and anxiety abound.
He said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:14)
Christmas celebrates the most ultimate gift possible – God coming to earth as man. Christmas is us remembering that Jesus came down to our earth to be our hope and our Saviour – to be the Light of the World.
But unlike the Christmas tree lights that all too soon will be packed away for another year, Jesus is our Light forever. He goes beyond Christmas Day and into eternity. For the day after Christmas and the days that follow – He is there to be your hope, your Saviour, your light.
The question is – are we allowing Jesus – the eternal Christmas light, in our lives today?
Yes, it’s another power cut inspired post! And I promise it is my last, especially now that the issue has been sorted. But on the second night of power cuts, when power had been resumed and then cut again, there was a randomness to the houses left in darkness. Driving the streets, there were pockets of houses with lights shining out from windows, and then patches of houses in complete darkness. One street would have power, street lights even, the next would be shrouded in darkness. One house would have lights, the next none.
For me, it so illustrated what is going on in our lives. There are people around us – on our street, our neighbours, our colleagues who are shrouded in darkness. The darkness of loss, of sickness, of relationship troubles or financial crisis. The darkness of hopelessness and despair, hurt and failure. They are in need of light. They are in need of the Light of the World – Jesus.
As a child, Robert Lewis Stevenson, best known for his adventure story Treasure Island, was found by his nurse with his nose pressed against his bedroom window. “Child, come away from there. You’ll catch you death of cold,” she fussed. But he wouldn’t budge. He sat, mesmerized, as he watched an old lamplighter slowly working his way through the black night, lighting each street lamp along his route. Pointing, Robert exclaimed, “See; look there; there’s a man poking holes in the darkness.”
That’s what we’ve been called to do – to bring light to darkened homes and streets. There are people all around us who need to know Jesus. To have Him bring, through us, compassion, healing, hope and love. In our world today we may seem small and insignificant, yet we can impact those around us. Let the light of Jesus shine in and through you. Your light, though it may seem small will blaze in the midst of darkness.
The hero is the one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by. The saint is the man who walks through the dark paths of the world, himself a light.”~Felix Adler
You can make the difference in the someone’s day, in someone’s life!
Shine! Glow! Be!
Into the second day of power cuts, I sat in my living room watching daylight gradually fade into darkness. The boys had gone to bed armed with torches and lanterns, whereas I had gathered every available candle (which turned out to be a lot!) to light the lounge. With candles lit, I was ready to embrace the night ahead with no electricity, although I did miss my evening coffee!
As the sun set and daylight dissipated, the candles shone even brighter. And when our home was finally enveloped in darkness along with the rest of the neighbourhood, my candles continued to shine and glow. They gave me light when I most needed it.
In the midst of a world that is spiritually and morally becoming darker, we need to shine and glow like my candles. Christine Caine once wrote “God doesn’t need more shooting stars, He needs more lighthouses.” I love this quote – probably because I love lighthouses, but also because of the picture it portrays. A Lighthouse gives light to guide ships and boats to safe harbours and to avoid crashing on relentless rocks. It is stable, constant and has a purpose. It is there to communicate the safe way ahead.
We need to be Lighthouses. We need to be that stable, light giving presence to the world around us. We need to be the ones who demonstrate and show the way to go. That means being people who act with integrity, who while at work are diligent, committed and who don’t take shortcuts. It means being the parent at the school gate that can offer support and encouragement to others and not gossip. It means being the friend that can be trusted for wise counsel. It means that our faith is not demonstrated by the mere fact that we attended church on Sunday, but that in our actions and deeds we bring glory to God.
“In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:16)