Tuesday, 17 December 2013
What would it mean if Jesus came into your darkest and loneliest place in your life?
So, as you may of noticed its Christmas. At my church on Sunday we looked at Jesus' birth, the nativity story, and the way Jesus chose to enter the world.
Jesus was born a King, born God, born Human. He was born to a virgin, who was unmarried at the time. He was born into a family who had been shamed by their own family for his birth. He was born in a dirty stable, an unhygienic room with animals, essentially the equivalent of an abandoned and derelict building frequented by people doing illegal things. You getting the idea? Jesus was a king born into a life more opposite to what a king should be than we can imagine.
My point is that Jesus knew struggle and darkness since he was born. Jesus was born light to the world, he was born hope in a hopeless time. The time leading up to Jesus' birth was silent from God to the Jews, they hadn't heard anything for so long, and I expect they were struggling to keep hope. For the Jews God was the centre of their entire life, so silence was difficult in every area of life. Then, in this dark time where there has been silence and everything's has felt dark and hopeless, the son of God, the brightest light is born in the darkness. Hope has been born on earth, born to a virgin.
Everyone has dark places in their life. Everyone has silent, lonely places where they don't let people, where they don't let God (mainly for fear that it will be too dark for even him). But Jesus was born into darkeness, and he still held light, he was still God, the world didn't consume him into its own darkness. My challenge to you is to think about your life, where is the darkest area in your life? What are you keeping most hidden? If you don't have anything your probably deceiving yourself. What would it mean if Jesus entered into that darkness with you and walked with you in it, holding his light, holding hope, holding you.
I think for me, I need to invite Jesus into my thoughts, into my illness. For me that is a very dark place, where I struggle to see hope, to find anything worth hanging on for. And I try to hide it, I try to appear well, to appear joyful and hopeful as much as I can. But in reality what I need more than anything else is for Jesus to hold me in that place, to carry me through this illness. I need to let his hope be my hope. I need to remember all the things that have tried to defeat me, all the battles he has won. I need to remember when he came into dark times in hospital, when I nearly died, when I couldn't cope. And I need to be brave and risk exposure, and let him in.
What would it mean? It would mean I could hold on to something. That it would never be as dark as it's been because now I've found the light in that area of my life. It would mean that I wasn't alone in my struggles. It would mean I can rest assured that it will not last forever, because Jesus died on the cross, took the price for me to be well, to have hope, to be free, and he rose again, defeated death - and what is darker than torturous death?
So I invite you to join me in this prayer:
Jesus, the light of the world,
I thank you for coming to earth,
For paying the price for me to know hope and light,
I invite you into my darkest loneliest place my thoughts and illness*,
And I ask you to be in it with me and help me through.
*add your own darkest loneliest place.
I really encourage you to talk to God about your life, identify the dark bits, ask him to lighten them and be in them and trust that he is and walk with him.
I wish you a happy, hopeful, joyful, light Christmas to you, where Jesus is closer than ever before.