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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Day 4: Broken Bulbs

I love the ljusstakar that adorn most windows throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons here in Stockholm.  They give the short days a real boost of light and energy and the added bonus is how our neighborhood is beautified by the window lights. I love walking around the city, noticing the different styles, marveling at how most people participate in this form of decoration.  We join the throngs as well and have 6 different ljusstakar in our apartment.  They burn 24 hours a day and I love the fact that our house is never pitch dark now.  We are constantly surrounded by the soft glow of our window lights and I love it.
However you would think in a country that awards the Nobel Prize someone could figure out how to design these window lights so that if one bulb goes, the rest do not.  Is this not the age old problem of Christmas lights?  Why must all lights dim if it is only one that has quit?  When I pulled ours out of storage the other day, only one "tree" was functioning.  The rest were dark.  Each of them have 7 bulbs and I had no idea where to start.  So I began removing each bulb, painstakingly testing each one in the "tree" that did work until I finally had 6 functioning ljusstakar glowing in my windows!  It is a frustrating and tedious task, only made worth it by the beautiful outcome.
Funny isn't it, how it only takes one wrong turn in a day, one bad incident, one small bump in the road to de-rail our entire lives.  Advent brings wonder into our lives but also frustration.  Time is short, demand is high.  We want to focus on the things that function well in our lives but then one of the bulbs goes out, we don't even know which one, but suddenly we can feel that all of the light in our lives has diminished.  Sometimes it takes awhile to figure out which bulb has blown.  It can be tedious and frustrating and often we want to say that it is not worth it.  We resign ourselves to simply sit in the dark and look at everyone else's lights.  What a mistake that is!  When you feel a blown bulb in your life, simply (ha ha) slow down.  Take time to test the bulbs.  Find the one that went out and replace it if you can or at least embrace the difficulty and ask for a way to get the other lights going even if that one cannot be replaced just yet.  At least prepare for the full glow of your life to come back on even if it may take awhile.  And remember, the light of Christ is growing brighter each day not fading.  Look to Christ to fill the space where your broken bulb has extinguished all other light.  You'll be amazed by the comfort that Christ's presence, guidance, and assurance will bring, even to your broken state.