Joanie

Shawhan

In Her Shoes

Dancing in the Shadow of Cancer

Embracing the light of Christmas While Navigating a Crisis

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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.

 

  1. The first candle is the candle of hope—a hope not based on our circumstances, but a hope in God who is faithful and fulfills His promises. He promises never to leave us.

 

  1. The second candle is the candle of peace. We long for peace. Peace silences the voices of fear and anxiety. Jesus promises us a peace that transcends our circumstances. He is the Prince of peace.

 

  1. The third candle represents joy—a joy that surpasses our pain. Even though we look to the day when all sorrow and mourning will cease and every tear will be wiped away, the very presence of God fills us with joy.

 

  1. The fourth candle of Christmas is love. God is love. He loves each one of us so much that He sent His Son into the world so we can experience His love through a relationship with Him. In turn, we are able to love others with His love.

 

  1. A white candle graces the center of the advent wreath and is lit on Christmas day. This candle represents Christ. He is the light that will shine in our darkness and show us how to navigate through this life, including the present 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)

  • Whether illness, conflict with a loved one, or other crisis, your words are so wise and encouraging.

  • TLC Nielsen says:

    I needed to hear this, what the candles represent and why. Thank you, Joanie!

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