"The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned." (NIV) Isaiah 9:2
Yes, here we were, the day before Thanksgiving, and the snow started. Heavy snow is beautiful when it comes down. Big flakes that coat the ground and trees - it is pretty. Yes, pretty heavy. It also causes tree limbs to bend and break as well as electricity lines to bend (and break). Hence, the day before Thanksgiving and roughly 200,000 people in the state of New Hampshire had lost power. We found ourselves to be in the same predicament as the other 199,999 homes in New Hampshire. No power and no heat. That Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving was cold and dark. We kept our family occupied with board games by the fire, hoping that by morning the power (and heat) would be back. As Wednesday night progressed, one couldn't help but focus on the darkness and cold. We were able to warm ourselves with lots of blankets and such, but the darkness can be overwhelming. Once the candles are blown out and the flashlights are shut off - it is dark! The generator was put into place on Thursday morning to keep things going. To make a long story short, by Friday afternoon, power was restored.
Yet, the feeling of Wednesday night stuck in my head. Darkness and cold. There was another night when it was dark and cold - the night of our Jesus' birth. Yes, that night there were no flashlights and no big comforters. There wasn't a fireplace to keep warm and not even a house to stay within. That night, there was a lowly stable, with hay and animals surrounding the birth of the Messiah. Such humble beginnings for our King! There was something that permeated that dark and cold, though. The star - the star that brought the shepherds and wise men to the King, Jesus. The star that provided guidance and light. The star that provided HOPE! Hope for Mary and Joseph and the child they would parent and hope for the people of Jesus' time
The good news is that the hope of the star, the hope of Jesus didn't stop there. The wooden manger that saw Christ's birth and the wooden cross that would see His death provided for us symbols of hope - along with the brightness of the star. With those three symbols we will always have the hope that only Jesus, our Messiah, can bring. The good news is that we have hope because of Jesus who came for US!! To have such deep hope in our hearts and souls that nothing else can bring comfort except the faith that Jesus came for me is life-changing. It replaces the darkness and coldness of this world with the hope of the star - the star that shined over Bethlehem.
Eventually, our power was restored. What received greater restoration that evening that Jesus was born was our souls - our souls received the restoration of salvation and hope. We all need to have the hope that only Jesus can bring, the hope in true eternal life. I pray that all those who read this never have to live in darkness and cold. Yet, if that should happen, turn your thoughts, prayers and HOPE to our Jesus. Give Him your prayers and your love. The HOPE He gives to us is a great gift for us to hold onto.
As our Advent season begins, I will try to share the meaning of the four Advent candles. The first is HOPE, and I pray that during the next four weeks, may you turn to Jesus for the HOPE you need in this world - knowing that we have HOPE for our future. May you all have a blessed Advent season.