Especially dark skies have greeted me this December on my early-morning runs.  The clear mornings have revealed brilliant stars and a fairytale moon.  It’s a sight that inspires awe and joy.  But, the brilliance has been hidden by clouds some mornings.  In those moments, I’ve found myself searching for at least one star that has managed to break through the barrier of darkness.

… and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was.  Matthew 2:9

Sometimes, things don’t go our way, and we have a cloudy day or two.  But, sometimes, things go horribly wrong, and clouds settle in indefinitely.  I have friends struggling with broken relationships, cancer, tragedy, and the loss of a loved one.  Around our globe, across our country, and at our Christmas parties, someone is in darkness, struggling to feel the joy of Christmas.  It may be they’ve never experienced the joy or it may be an overwhelming darkness has hidden it.  Our festive signs of Christmas – lights, music, gifts & parties – aren’t capable of lifting darkened spirits.  And, in our darkest moments, knowing that God works all things for good does not ease our pain or provide the peace we desperately seek.  The overwhelming sadness clouds our ability to see light and hope, and we wonder why God allows such evils.  We aren’t meant to have the full answer this side of heaven, but we can be certain of everything that matters:  God’s promises of unconditional love, forgiveness, and eternal life.  He doesn’t break promises, and His is the only light brilliant enough to shine through the numbing darkness.  But, how do we find the light and hope when the clouds seem impenetrable?  God makes Himself known in many ways, and one of His methods is revealing Himself to us through others.  A smile, kind gesture, or hug from a compassionate friend or stranger could provide clarity through the clouds.  I can’t comprehend what God thinks or feels when He sees us face pain or, even worse, inflict harm on one another.  I do know He wants us to feel His arms around us, in shared sorrow and comfort.  Each of us is capable of being a catalyst for His love.  If His light of hope has filled your heart this season, pass it on.  We will overcome the darkness with Him.

Dear God, please help those struggling to find joy this Season feel the warmth of your arms around them and see Your Star of Bethlehem as a light of hope, peace, and love.