Everywhere I go I am reminded of Christmas: lights twinkle, trees sparkle, bells chime, shoppers scurry and Christmas carols ring out the joy of the season. Wreaths with cheery red bows adorn the entrances of my neighbors’ homes.
I stare at my bare door as I enter my home devoid of Christmas decor. My fireplace mantel, normally home to my lighted nativity scene, lays bare. My energy bank is drained. A crisis has rocked my world.
How do I prepare my heart for Christmas when my circumstances do not seem merry and bright?
How do we embrace the true meaning of Christmas while wading through the pain of grief, sickness or loss? Is it possible to rejoice in hope and experience peace?
My circumstances seem to have smothered the light that I need to shine in my darkness. I am reminded of the lights flickering from the advent wreath candles. Each week an additional candle is lit, symbolizing the coming of Christ with increasing light.
I have discovered five truths based on the meaning of the advent candles to help us embrace the light of Christmas while navigating a crisis.
This advent, instead of focusing on our suffering, we can embrace the five lights of Christmas: hope, peace, joy and love, culminating in the arrival of Christ, the light of the world.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.” (Isaiah 9:2 NKJV)