A Christmas Prayer When the World Seems Dark
Thank you for this blessed season, when we celebrate the Word become flesh. But lately, there’s this painful contrast…a darkness pervading the twinkling glow of gaily strung Christmas lights.
I have to be honest, sometimes it seems like the darkness is winning.
And I’m trying. I’m trying to see the light. Oh my, my home is full of it! You’ve gifted me this husband and these four littles, this crazy little acreage and this home. No, I don’t have to look very far to see blessing heaped upon blessing. And I’m grateful. So grateful.
But I’m wondering about these prayers that seem unanswered. I wince as I check my email, as my phone notifies me I have a call or message. Lord, the news is bleak lately. Frightening diagnoses. Weary mamas. Lost family. Mental illness. Addiction. Job loss. Empty bank accounts. Single parents. Disheartened souls. The sorrow, it’s all there in writing. And the unspoken requests. The ones too hard to write down, too painful to plead out loud for prayer. They are there all the same. So weighty. So dark.
And I know it’s true…You never leave a prayer unanswered. You sometimes say ‘no’. You sometimes say ‘wait.’ But always we are to keep eternity in mind and remember that all answers, the big picture, will be understood someday.
But right now, we just see the darkness, and we’re straining toward the light. Oh, we’re searching for it as if our very lives depended on it.
So I work harder to manufacture the joy. But it falls flat, just reminding me that I need to fall flat myself. Right at the feet of Jesus.
Oh, Lord, you know I want this Christmas season to be all beauty and evergreen and candlelight. You know that I want our hearts to be light and the season merry. I want a Christmas miracle straight out of the storybooks for all of these precious children of yours on my heart. I want that. I so want that.
And as your child, I get impatient and frustrated at what seems to be your silence. I want a big, grand miracle to show your glory to the world. I want answers and solutions and a great big happy ending. I want a grand finale to show the world that you always bring beauty from the ashes.
I want to see the light.
So I search for your light, and I breathe silent prayers asking you to speak to me from your Word.
And you do.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
It’s a truth that is sewn into my very soul. I don’t need to search for the light. You’ve already sent the light. You’ve already given us our Christmas miracle. And as much as I want this perfect Christmas season filled with light and laughter, the truth is, we live in a fallen world. You came to a fallen world.
Mary pondered and treasured up the wonder of your coming in her heart. Angels sang…with lowly shepherds to witness. Wise men came…and snuck away before Herod could find them. There wasn’t a great deal of fanfare. No, you came in quiet, in humbleness. But you were still light. A light that would shine through the darkest night.
You came into the darkness.
You overcame the darkness.
But until you come again, there will continue to be darkness.
Yet ultimately, you will bring us into the light.
And that’s what I remember this Christmas season, as I ponder my blessings. What I remember when I ache for the dark seasons others face. As I pray for them, heart aching, prayers reaching to you. It’s what I remember when I know that this season isn’t merry for some facing loss and grief and pain and bitterness.
I remember that You are the light. And though the darkness still reaches its black fingers into our lives, you are still light. Always light. I remember that you came as light to rescue mankind once and that you’ll come again.
2 The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this. (Isaiah 2: 2-7)
Thank you, Father, for holding us when it seems like the darkness is winning. And for reminding us that the victory is yours. Reminding us that when we feel empty, all used up, that you will come fill us again – with your joy and light. And that is what makes this Christmas merry.