What makes your holiday season bright? Over the past few weeks, I have seen my friends and family literally illuminated by the light from menorahs and Christmas trees. The faces I love are shining bright and seeing this makes my holiday season merry. I love watching you open your Secret Snowman gift at work, receiving your holiday card in the mail, and shopping for your gifts. These simple joys give back more than they cost.
In a season of commercialization, I strive help my children learn the values that Jesus taught, like humility, service, compassion, and sacrifice. How do we bring light to others? I mentally tally the charitable things we have done this season, the gifts we have gathered for others that are unexpected, and the good deeds we have performed. I wonder if my children are learning from these things or if they are unnoticed in the hustle of the season. I worry whether it is enough. It reminds me to be intentional, slow down, and listen.
Like many people, the last few weeks have been a reminder of how much I have to be grateful this Christmas. It seems every time I see the news there are more people being victimized by sexual predators, displaced by fires, or marginalized by politicians and I feel this weighing heavily on my heart. As I trod forth though, I know that even in the darkness, the light will eventually shine. And I have seen this too. This week I celebrated with a mother who got good news on genetic testing results that could have changed her life; I was hugged by a mother who was able to give her children extra Christmas gifts through the kindness of strangers; I held a teenager facing an unexpected pregnancy and helped her find comfort in the steps ahead. This season is painful for so many, and if that is you, I hope you too find your light. Know that I see it in you.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
Those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
on them light has shined.
Isaiah 9:2 NRSV