I love Christmas Lights. On my birthday we drove an hour to the “Festival of Lights” (a drive-thru light show). Last night we drove to walk thru a neighborhood that is one of those that seems like it could come from a Hallmark Christmas special. As a teenager, I strung lights around the boarder of my room at Christmas time, then I’m pretty sure left them up all year.
There is just something magical about Christmas lights. There is something safe and warm and happy in them. Streets that seemed dark and unfriendly before, once lights begin to appear in the beginning of December (or even before Thanksgiving), no longer seem so cold.
This year “light” has had even more meaning to me.
I struggled this year with writing a “Christmas Letter” to go with our Christmas cards. I really wanted to. I promised myself I last year that I would do it. Well, I broke that promise.
As I sat trying to write the letter, the thoughts that came to my mind did not seem to belong in a Christmas card. Usually letters like that are full of year highlights, fun times and things we are proud of. Well, this year for me has been more about difficult dark days and a time a growing in ways I never thought I would. It just didn’t seem like someone would want to read: “This year was really hard. I hope we never have to have another one like it. Merry Christmas and hears to a better New Year.”
What does a not wanting to write a Christmas letter have to do with light? You may be thinking I got distracted and started another blog post (have faith, this did not happen, although I will not promise that it never will, you never know what might happen with this distracted mamma). Here’s what light and Christmas letters have in common for me.
This spring I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. I felt like I was not myself. I felt out of control, overwhelmed, sad, angry, tired, and can remember saying to Ian, “I feel like I’m in a dark place.”
It was a very dark place. Unlike any other I’ve ever been. These past eight months or so have been a struggle as I work through all that comes with this reality. But recently, I feel God has been reminding me of His power and faithfulness. In John 1:5, John proclaims, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” That is God’s promise to all of us. Jesus Christ came and defeated darkness. Darkness will not overcome. Darkness will not win. Light will triumph. Light will shine and defeat the darkness that seems to be closing in.
This year, it was struggle of light and darkness for our family (especially for me). At points darkness seemed to be winning, but Light will ultimately win. I can trust in this promise. It’s not material for a Christmas letter. There is nothing about trips, promotions, births or other news like that, but it’s the reality I live in right now. And in a way, it has everything to do with Christmas. Christmas is about lights. The true and best LIGHT came long ago and defeated darkness. Now even though darkness sometimes feels close, we can know that it will not overcome. Light will win and shine. This is “joy to the world.”