When my Christmas card showed up on December 17th, I was disappointed with how dark it looked. Especially the photo of Kayla and Andrew’s family. I felt regret at choosing a black background. Burying my disappointment, I had to set them down in my office because I was in the middle of a huge painting project in my basement. “I’ll deal with it later.”
Which I did with my letter:
I chose the location in front of the pines at Ethan and Caitlin’s new, but really old fixer-upper farm. Kayla shot our photos. Visions of beautiful Christmas cards danced in her mom’s head.
We began with Ethan’s family, then photographed the big group. When it came time to shoot her and Andrew’s family, the sun had popped out, making our setting too brilliant for the photo. So, we moved to the backside of the same two trees. The difference in the effect of lighting is . . . obvious. (So is my poor editing – I tried!)
Even if you don’t wear reading glasses, you might need them for our photo card this year. Sorry! They looked just fine on the computer when I ordered them, but arrived too late for a reorder when I saw how dark they looked in real life. If I could just somehow add light . . .
Surely there is a way to redeem this rather expensive mistake; I thought . . . How does this relate to Christmas?
What is the value of light?
How much do we value our sight?
What can we do when things don’t go right?
Candles flicker on the coffee table; reflection from lights wound on evergreen boughs sprinkle the wood floors like glitter. I’m on my couch where I begin every morning. It’s dark as night, but 7:00 am – It’s the shortest day of the year and I’m already anticipating more light.
Sure, by summer’s end, I welcome shorter days. Green turns to gold, orange, and burgundy, before descending into winter’s brown and grey. I look forward to quieter times . . . my cozy home . . . the cooling of autumn giving way to fireside reading. A time for quiet.
But that isn’t really how it is. There are times of nesting and resting peppered into this spinning globe. Thank God! Those precious moments when our hearts glimpse the fullness that is to come . . . the promise of the eternal home when the Light never shifts. The shadows that obscure Truth will be gone forever. Our heart’s eyes will see Him clearly; the Love that came down at Christmas. Surely this was the purpose of the Sabbath law. The one made for man – for us to stop and breathe, to love the Light. Might we pause and ponder the goodness of His ways? We have permission to cease striving!
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Jesus was in the beginning – with God. At His Word, “Let there be light.” creation happened. Sun and moon and stars lit the darkness. God’s preparation for life’s rhythm – all the “it was good” things He made on days 1-5 were in anticipation of the “very good” of day six: the day He breathed His life into us.
But all the “it was good” didn’t seem good enough to Adam and Eve who ate the forbidden fruit, and the light went out in the heart of humanity. The human heart became dark, void of God’s life.
History marched on with glimmers and glimpses of what was to come. God kept speaking words of promise, of hope, of redemption. And then, after going silent for four hundred years – after prophecies halted . . . on one dark, ordinary day, Heaven’s veil was torn open; Angels appeared. Light entered earth again in a new and living way.
God spoke to Mary, announcing that hers would be the dark womb to nurture the Light from Heaven; that her body would be like the deep void of nothingness that was in the beginning. Just as the Spirit hovered over the lifeless atmosphere, as we are told in Genesis, the Word that brought the whole galaxy and this tiny spinning globe we call home into existence – would be born through her virgin body . . .
How could a perfect, holy God have a relationship with humans in flesh, other than to become one? This is love. This is the Light that breaks into the darkness and gives the gift of God to all who seek Him. His life came down to light us.
Let every heart prepare Him room! Love came down at Christmas for no other reason than – He wants us.
He asks at Christmas, “Will you receive Me? I’m free!”
Dear Lord, yes please! Give my heart sight, help me value this Light that came into the darkness to make all things right.
I want You too!
I do! I do!
Here are our photos — with the proper light: