I’m sleeping on the couch near the Christmas tree tonight. I just want to be by the lights longer, to drift toward dreamland in their glow. I’ve just arrived home from a Christmas concert and the chords of “Silent Night” are still echoing in my memory as I lie here, but the music of the evening isn’t why I’m sleeping out by the tree. No, I’ve been thinking about doing this all week.
I’m a no-Christmas-before-Thanksgiving hardliner, but this year I found myself wishing for Christmas to come, faster, faster. As if by wishing I could hurry it along. As if I could push myself forward, even just a few seconds faster than ordinary time goes, to Christmas.
I know a lot of people who are weary this year. Weary of the battles, the disappointments, the violence, the bile that seems to be spewing out everywhere. Some people look back. They think of another year, another era. They may be looking through rose colored glasses or they may actually be right that things used to be better. But I’m looking forward, not for rose-colors but for twinkle lights.
It’s dark out there.
We’re entering the tenebrous season of Advent now. Pushing through the weeks of expectant waiting for the King’s arrival. He won’t come like we expect him, though. He never has. We wanted a conquering ruler and he came as a little baby, ready to live a fragile human life and then lay himself down as a blood sacrifice for the sins of the world. It wasn’t what we expected.
The light shines in the darkness.
We might expect Christmas to arrive with blinding brightness and bombastic fanfare, but it often comes with a night like this one, where we drift off to sleep in the room with the tree. The twinkle lights are just tiny points of brightness, but the whole corner is aglow with them.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
I need a little bit of hope this year. I need the light shining in the darkness. I need what Advent and Christmas mean. I’m pushing toward Christmas this year, pushing forward to the twinkle lights shining in the darkness. They’re small, like a tiny Savior born in a manger. They’re steady, like a kind carpenter who took Mary as his bride. And they’re bright, bright as the eyes of a young mother looking down at the Hope of the World in her arms.