Light a Candle

“I am waiting in a silent prayer, I am frightened by the load I bear in a world as cold as stone. Must I walk this path alone?…Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness…”

This time of year… family, friends, decorations, lights, trees, gifts, music, yummy spicy smells, cookies…Christmastime. So many love to start celebrating early each year and keep the Christmas music going and the tree and lights up through winter. We all love the storybook Christmas.

But this time of year is also sadness and loneliness for so many — often magnified because of all of the lovely holiday trappings. Life doesn’t stop because it’s Christmas. Every year, I seem to be more acutely aware of this side of Christmas, of the messiness of life, of those who are hurting. I can take cookies, send gifts, say words of encouragement, pray for peace and healing — but the sadness and pain are still there. There are those walking through a dark night of the soul, and Christmas lights don’t take that darkness away.

There are so many.

But God…

For He is Light. Jesus. He knows the pain and the loneliness and the darkness. And for those of us who love Christmas let us remember why we love it. All the fluffy things are wonderful. But God became flesh in the midst of a dark and hopeless world. He is the Christmas Light. He gives hope  —  because we all need it.

So each night during this season, I light a candle for those whose hurt is magnified during Christmas, and I’ll pray for some small comfort, some small light to guide them.

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” Isaiah 9:2

 

candle

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This Christmas

Every year, my children ask me what I want for Christmas (or Mother’s Day or my birthday). And every year I pretty much say the same thing — I just want all of us to be together and enjoy one another. They dutifully roll their eyes and ask me again. And I say the same thing – again. Well, I’m saying it one more time, in writing: I DON’T WANT ANYTHING FOR CHRISTMAS! Other than being together.

But I’m going to add something, and hopefully I’ll feel the same way next year and the next and the next. I want each of them to give whatever they might think about spending on me to a true need.

This year, I hope my children will give something with eternity in mind. That is what I truly want for Christmas. So here are some ideas:

alarm-inc.org

showmercy.org

girleffect.org

mercyships.org

orphanreliefandrescue.org

love146.org

notforsalecampaign.org

thementoringproject.org

All of the above organizations are doing great things – helping children and young women get free from trafficking, working with orphans and children who were born with aids, doing medical miracles, building wells in third world countries, helping widows who lost their husbands start businesses, training leaders in war-torn countries, mentoring at-risk boys.

And in the midst of loving these children and families with food, shelter, medicine – they love them enough to introduce them to a God who loves them more than anything.

I’m not getting legalistic about this…I’m really not. I love Christmas – I love making cookies for people, watching Christmas movies, decorating my house to give it that festive feel, drinking eggnog, listening to Christmas music – making our home a welcome place. We’ve done the traditional Christmas thing, with gifts and Santa, although we’ve tried to keep Jesus as the true reason for Christmas and the center of why we do what we do.  We wouldn’t have Christmas without Him.

And I don’t expect anyone else to feel the same way about getting gifts as I do. It’s just time for me to follow the message that’s been working on my heart.

I truly have a wonderful life…that I can enjoy the Christmas season in these ways is such a blessing. That I can have family together, enjoying one another is a treasure. The time we spend together, the time we invest in others, has eternal value. This year, I want to share that eternity.