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(A reflection on the spirit of the season—shared recently with my friends in the Christian Writers' Fellowship at OMF Literature. Edited for this blogsite.)
Isaiah 9:2 "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned."
Have you experienced being in an unfamiliar dark room, where all you can do is grope? Where the only steps you could take are so tiny because big ones might make you stumble big-time? Then your ears become so acutely sensitive like a dog's; your hair bristles in fright; and your blood tsunamies to the point of cardiac arrest.
Darkness within—a life apart from Christ—is scarier! Way frightening!
When did Christ come to your own dark room? Were you just walking in darkness or were you in deep darkness?
How is it to be in deep darkness? Ask me, I know!
When my life was just about me, myself and moi, bitterness, anger, resentment and unforgiveness were my daily grind—on top of teeth grinding in my sleep. I spiralled into periods of despair and hopelessness (without anyone ever noticing because I was a great pretender). It was utter darkness, where the only way out seemed to be to escape it all.
But just in time, Jesus came, changed my life of angst and drama into one joyful and peaceful. Ah, pwede palang matulog nang mahimbing sa gabi! And my midnight snack could be about God's goodness instead of my fears—of death, sickness, failure, financial lack—ad nauseam!
And so this is Christmas! A simple but powerful and life-changing message (in Hillsong's "Here I Am to Worship" lyrics):
"Light of the world
You stepped down into darkness
Opened my eyes, let me see…
King of all days
Oh so highly exalted
Glorious in heaven above
Humbly You came to the earth You created
All for love's sake became poor."
That's the reason Christian writers write. That's the reason we sing and live as Christ did—for blind eyes to sparkle again through the little lights that we've become.
"Let your light so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven," Matthew 5:16.
Lights flood homes and malls and a lot of public places every Christmastime. OK din naman yun, di ba, para makulay ang selebrasyon. Para hindi natin makalimutang mag-shop para sa inaanak o sa anak.
But the greater (and real) light must not be snuffed out by the insignificant kumukuti-kutitap lights around us. Jesus in us should so shine through our lives and our writings that people would crave what we have. "Iba ka, bakit ka ganyan? Ganyan ba talaga ang born against?"
What is your story? The story of your ascent from pitch darkness to light? The earth will become darker, we all know that from prophecy. Statistics tell us that suicides are at their highest at Christmastime—and becoming higher especially among millennials.
This is our story: Isaiah 9:6, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
That's why we write what we write, so that those who read our books would experience Christ every day of their lives, in their place of work, at home, and in spite of challenges.
Lord, may I not miss the real essence of Christmas. Help me to rise above the clutter of partying and materialism and indulge instead in your love—your free gift of grace for all those who would confess Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Usher me into your kingdom of light, where peace and joy abound because of Him who reigns there, forever.