It comes without fail every year. December 21…the shortest day of the year…or the longest period of continual darkness. It falls just a few days before “the most wonderful time of the year.” I think we are often tempted to ignore the darkness, as if that will make it go away quicker.
But Christmas does not exist apart from darkness. It is placed very strategically in the darkest days. Not so that we can ignore the darkness. Not so we can busy ourselves with erasing the darkness.
It is placed here so that we know. It reminds us that in the throes of depression…or grief, or pain…whatever darkness is yours…that you do not walk that lonesome valley alone. Christmas is for reminding us that when there was only despair, God came with hope. It is to remind us that when there was only violence and unrest, God came with peace. It is so we know that when we can’t find happiness, God comes with joy. It comes so that we know God loves us not when we love him, but when we need his love the most.
It is not by accident that in the midst of darkness, Christ comes. Christ comes precisely when we need him most. He comes to sit with the depressed. He comes to quiet the anxious. He comes to cry with the grieving. He comes to comfort the suffering. He comes not when we are at our best, but when we are at our most desperate. When darkness invades our days.
If you find yourself this day…this week…this month…consumed by the darkness, fear not. The light is coming into the world. Jesus, the light himself, has not forsaken you. He sits with you. He listens. He holds you. Allow his light to fill your darkness.
Don’t forget. December 21st is the darkest day, because tomorrow it will be brighter. And even now, Jesus is with you.