This was the first Christmas season I’ve kept up with a (mostly consistent) daily Advent reading, and it’s been such a nice rhythm to practice. I used Tsh Oxenreider’s new Advent book, and it has been everything my heart needed this season. She reminds me in the intro of her book that “God redeems darkness. He wants to infiltrate the shadows the hardest life has to offer and bring light beyond our comprehension.”
The holiday season is always a weird, emotional rollercoaster for me, but especially this year, experiencing the first one without my mom here. It feels wrong and fake to be in a ‘holiday cheer’ kind of mood while I also feel the lingering ache in my heart from missing her and wishing she were here. Holidays and this season have a way of painfully reminding you of the way things used to be during this time in the past, and can make you yearn for a chance for your life to be like it was then. It hurts and I’m not a fan, but it’s in those moments of darkness that Christ enters in, shedding light and offering Himself for comfort and peace.
The hard but best work I’ve done this past year was not only choosing to look for the light amidst the darkness but also acknowledging the darkness and not ignoring it or suppressing the uncomfortable feelings that come with it. Because if we overlook the darkness, how much glory do we take away from the light that’s here and the light that is to come?
I feel like 2020 has quadrupled my (and perhaps the world’s) weariness. I’m so ready for the full thrill of hope and rejoicing that is to come when Christ returns. Until then, I’ll be listening to my favorite Christmas hymn O Holy Night and celebrating His first arrival with both sadness and joy, looking for the light, and holding onto hope.
“Take joy in knowing that, even if the Advent season isn’t always full of cheer or glad anticipation, Jesus knows your longing for joy in the midst of it.” – Tsh Oxenreider, Shadow & Light: A Journey into Advent