One Christmas, just after my mom died, I spent hours sitting by the Christmas tree in the dark except for Christmas lights. That year I learned why Christmas comes near the darkest day of the year. In a cold and lifeless time, Romans lit bonfires to call back the light. Christians saw the symbolism and chose that day to celebrate the birth of the tiny baby who is the light of the world. Since then, I love lighting candles at Christmas - small defiant lights, speaking of our sure hope in darkness.
For many, this year has been emotionally dark, and Christmas will be lonely. For us it’s been a turbulent year. In addition to all that came with the epidemic and its restrictions, we have had three deaths in our family, unexpected, but not Covid related. Yet our lives and our deaths are still God’s hands. We can echo Mary when she heard the news that would blow apart her life, she said “I am a servant of the Lord; let this happen to me according to your word." And the light of the world was born, so small, in such a dark world. As John the apostle said, “The light shone in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” We have a sure hope!