Last year the first outdoor Christmas decorations I noticed were the day after Thanksgiving; this year the lights were twinkling last week – two weeks before T-day. Some folks have put up their trees and decked the halls. The stores here have been in gear for weeks.
I don’t begrudge anyone doing whatever it takes this year to spread a little cheer. We can use it – we need a little Christmas, “right this very minute!” A favorite movie moment is Auntie Mame, having lost her job in the Depression, warbles all the delight the season brings, and is then is rescued by the soon-to-be love of her life. But, when the scene ends, the trappings go as quickly as they appeared – just like the real-time light extravaganzas; cold dark nights rule – and the spirit is plunged again in deepening gray.
This year the Christmas lights seem to spotlight how dark the darkness is. This year, despite the lights, the darkness is more palpable. It seems the premature glitz is barely covering deeper heartache. Leaving aside the flood of bad news from cable news and talk radio – more of us have big health and financial problems that weren’t on the radar screen last year. A few of us have lost spouses and children, literally and spiritually. It’s hard to muster a “Ho-Ho-Ho!” from a heart breaking with grief and worry.
What is more unsettling, the decorations [still] ignore the manger – the humble holder of the light that will not fail. But, I know about that Light – in Him there is no darkness. (1 John 1:5)
God help me to see that blessed manager with renewed vision, choosing not to be impaired by fear, frustration, sin –or doubt. May I sing a carol from Psalms, and mean it with all the gusto I put into the Hallelujah Chorus!
. . . Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for the gracious and compassionate and righteous [woman].
Good will come to [her] who is generous and lends freely,
who conducts [her] affairs with justice.
Surely [she] will never be shaken;
a righteous [woman] will be remembered forever.
[She] will have no fear of bad news;
[her] heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
[Her] heart is secure, [she] will have no fear;
in the end [she] will look in triumph on his foes.
[She] has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor,
[her] righteousness endures forever;
[her] horn will be lifted high in honor.
The wicked . . . will see and be vexed,
he will gnash his teeth and waste away;
the longings of the wicked will come to nothing. (Psalm 112:4-9)
It’s never too early to celebrate His birthday –