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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Advent Journey Day 5

Each Sunday during the season of Advent, we have a special candle lighting ritual.  It always ends like this: "We light this candle as symbol of God's light shining in the darkness. The Light has come into the world and it shines as brightly now as it did then. The darkness didn't overcome it then and it never will."  
Today I am thankful that darkness will never overcome the light of Christ.  It is dark in Sweden now.  It takes a good long while for daybreak to occur.  Today the sunrise is scheduled for 8.24 a.m. and sunset will follow at 14.52.  That's only about 6.5 hours of daylight right now.  Having our advent lights in our windows is a great gift as the soft glow of the little lamps that burn 24/7 brighten the darkness that now envelopes us.  But it isn't really the physical darkness that is on my heart today.  It is the darkness of difficulty that certain loved ones are mired in just now that makes the promise of Christ's light shining in the dark places especially meaningful.  Our niece, who has cerebral palsy, had major spine surgery a few weeks back.  While she is one tough cookie, this has certainly not been easy.  She faced a set-back this week in that the incision site is infected so they have to go back in today for another surgery to clean out the wound.  She had returned to school for a half day, which she LOVES, and now she has to return to the hospital, which she does NOT love.  She maintains a fairly sunny outlook and brings blessing to all who encounter her but even feels a little dark for her right now.  Lord Jesus, shine your light in a bright and profound way on little Eva today...bring comfort and healing where it is needed.  
Additionally, her mom, one of Doug's sisters, is fighting cancer.  She has been fighting breast cancer for 15 years, and stage IV breast cancer for the past 7.  Eva surely gets some of her fighting spirit from Jan.  But the rounds of chemo take a huge toll on her system and wipe her out totally for a few days each month.  Sometimes I wonder why her family has to carry such a load.  I don't fully understand it.  I never will.  But I trust that God journeys with them, promising to share their very heavy load.  We pray for Jan as well, that healing will come to her body, that restoration will occur, that somehow in the midst of the darkness that ailing health brings to her life, she will be buoyed by the light of Christ which provides eternal hope and encouragement.  If you are so inclined, please keep Jan and Eva and the rest of their family in your prayers this advent season.
Today I am thankful for this promise from John's gospel, that the light shines in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it.  Ever.