Pastor Molly’s Thoughts…
There must be darkness to see light.
“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.” (Matthew 4:16)
Dearest Vernon Family. . .
As I write this to you, it is getting colder outside. We’ve enjoyed many spring-like days longer into fall than we’re used to, but finally it seems that winter might just be on its way. And with it cold, darker days.
Three months ago, I couldn’t imagine that I would ever again be excited about Christmas. The loss of my son and its ensuing grief consumed me. This has surely been the darkest time of my life, and the days have stretched out in a seemingly endless journey of pain.
But here we are, all of a sudden, in Advent. Christmas is just days away. And for the first time, I have a tiny, budding sense of joy. My long, extended sadness is giving birth to the infancy of hope.
How does this happen? How is it that we are taken by surprise when hope finally comes?
This is the year of Matthew’s gospel. One of Matthew’s main intentions was to show that Old Testament prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus. For hundreds of years the Hebrew people had awaited a Messiah, longed for a savior to restore Israel. In fact, they had waited so long that most didn’t recognize him when he came. It’s Matthew’s intent to say: “Here He is, the one we’ve been waiting for!”
I, and my family, have a much deeper understanding of “sitting in darkness.” In a darkness so dark that you come to believe no one or nothing can penetrate it.
But when that little light is finally kindled, it is so amazing! As Matthew predicted, we can’t know the day and hour when it will come” (Matt. 24:35). Perhaps that is why it is so amazing when it happens.
All of us know darkness. This “season to be jolly” may be inhibited by many things: estrangement from a loved one, a serious illness, financial difficulty, unease with the political landscape. Winter always descends, sometimes violently, sometimes slowly.
And we wait, knowing that we ourselves can’t bring the light. We sit with the promise, the prophecy, that God will restore us. Then, suddenly, without warning, we see a light, feel the warmth of spring.
It is a long wait, but I can tell you from my recent personal experience what this newborn joy feels like!
Christmas is newborn joy. The barrenness of darkness is broken, and the light of life is here.
I pray that each one of you can experience Christmas joy this year, and that you can rejoice in the promise fulfilled in Jesus. Merry Christmas!