Sometimes hope means remembering that the darkness will, at some point, give way to the light. There is a limit to pain, and the light does return. This is not to diminish or down play the reality of dark times. Sadness and heartache are real emotions that accompany our times of difficulty or confusion. And yet it is sometimes helpful, in the middle of the trouble, to remember that there is a “furthest” in regards to darkness.
It might be helpful this Christmas, as we reflect on the coming of the light into the world, to remember that darkness will not overcome us. In fact John 1 says this very thing, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
I know many of you are dealing with extremely challenging circumstances at this time in your lives. You are having a winter solstice of your own. And during these difficult and dark seasons it can be hard to feel positive or hopeful even during Christmas. The Christmas message reminds us that hope and light are sometimes best proclaimed, not with a bullhorn from above, but quietly and humbly, from a baby in a barn. Hope can be delivered as we stand silently and humbly with each other in the reality of the pain or suffering. We want the people we love to know that they are not alone as we wait with them in the dark. When the nights are longest, hope is most appropriately delivered in silence. So when we sing silent night, holy night this Christmas, let us remember that sometimes the loudest encouragement might be our silent presence among those having a tough time waiting for the light to return.