My husband's favorite Christmas movie is National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. When we bought our house he immediately shared his dream with me of having a lit up property at Christmas time just like in the movie. It is one of the many reasons I have nicknamed him Sparky! I strived to take control of this situation as best I could, so I made up a game. Every year we were married, my husband would get something new for the yard or home to add to our outdoor Christmas light display. I thought I was being pretty witty. However, family members caught on to the joy and fun and now lights just appear every year and the yard in no way demonstrates how long we have been married. However, one could argue it demonstrates how long it feels like we have been married ;-). A couple of years ago my husband decided to add lights to a large cedar tree outside our bedroom window. I remember the day he put them on. He was so proud of himself at completing the project. You know how you ride down the road looking at other people's holiday lights and you pass a house where it looks like they just threw lights up in a tree and left to go do their holiday shopping? Well, that is what that tree looked like, maybe even a tad worse. Shhhhhh. You didn't hear it from me. In the last couple of years my husband has improved his ability to put lights on that cedar tree. Sure, they still look thrown on but in a much more artistically pleasing sort of way. Our lights are set on a timer. Many nights during the week we go to bed before the lights outside go off. Many nights I lay in bed in our dark bedroom, and if I turn my head just right, the lights from that cedar tree glisten back at me between the slats of the closed blinds. I am reminded of hope. Hope is the light we find winking at us in the darkness. Hope is that teeny tiny glimmer we experience that brings us a little bit of warmth and ease when the darkness around us feels extremely thick. Hope is not always neat and tidy. Sometimes hope feels thrown onto us, like the lights are thrown onto the cedar tree, in unexpected ways by unexpected people in unexpected places. As we prepare for the Christmas season no matter what thick darkness you find yourself surrounded in...grief, sorrow, uncertainty, overwhelm, confusion, apathy, guilt, anger, loneliness, hopelessness.... May you turn your head just right and catch the twinkling hope out of the corner of your eye that we find in Christ.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.