17 Dec 2014

a thousand lights that won't lead us home.. but one that will : Christmas peace friends!

Every year, the main shopping belt in Singapore gets lit-to-the-max. Yes, it is Christmas, the season for shops and retailers to cast a wide net and gather a huge catch. Lights help here: those glorious baubles, stars, 3D castles, machine-generated snow... the gold, blue, red, diamante colours.

It is a beautiful and enchanting sight that lifts the soul, if for a few moments, to some higher plane of wonder, delight, and relish.

Yes, we even call in those arctic creatures, the reindeer to help rein in the crowds and gamely remind them of the ho-ho of it all - the goodness of giving and receiving.

Perhaps these lights draw us in and lift us because we are afraid of the dark and darkness. Which one of us has not had a frightful experience with that? The child begs for the light to stay on for monsters lurk in the dark. When we cannot see, our minds run a lil' wild.

But there are lights, and there are lights.

Leaving a lil night light is helpful enough, but there are lights we torch that can hurt us ~

...all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches,
go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze.
This is what you shall receive from my hand: you will lie down in torment.
~ Isaiah 50v11

Major ouch.

A lack of peace,
a turning and a tossing,
a fearful anticipation.

fretting over gifts (we hope to have and wish to give)
worrying we may forget someone 'important'
feeling still angry, even hating
knowing deep within we are unforgiven and unforgiving
afraid as the days are turning into a new year and your plans are drafts

For everyone single one of these we may well have some plan, answer or defense made ready.
But our little torches of how to answer and 'don't dwell on it' won't suffice to get us to experience the angelic announcement over this season: peace on earth and goodwill to man.

You have no idea how much light you need if you won't consider how dark it can get.

No one brings a toy torch light or a half-filled gas lamp for a camping trip in the wilderness.The dark will soon overtake and it will be futile. We are camping for a while in a wide wilderness, en route home. Yes, we can build a campfire in this case. But sometimes. the journey takes us to deserts and strong winds and all we have is sun, moon and stars. The Bedouins learn to rest when it's too hot to travel and navigate by moonlight and stars.

But we? We just push on. City folk with our days made long by artificial light, our sense of prowess and control reiterated to us with every successful sale, every goal attained, every relationship milked. We push on. When we are not sure, we look inside our bag for another torch to light the way.

All this while, the darkness can be encroaching upon us. We wake up and we are shocked at the world news. What has our world come to?!

Christmas is God entering this world engulfed in darkness and piercing the dark to let in the Light.

The storytellers are right: it is an epic battle of dark and light.

A battle out there,yes, but really, it begins inside us. Each of us.

How about this Christmas we let the smaller lights remind us of the Great Light.

Jesus said,
I am the Light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. ~ John 8v12

In the wild as in the desert, no one travels alone. You file up and you want to make sure you follow a trustworthy guide. Jesus offers to lead us, to light the way. He invites us to fall in step.

Stop dashing around. Stop ignoring your heart's cries, aches and longings. The caverns of our soul is a huge space for Light to enter and shine around - as the darkness flees.

This Christmas, amid all the lights and sights, how about slowing down and sitting with Jesus, rest from the heat of the day and talk about your heart; and invite the Light in.

Peace on earth, goodwill to man - - because peace in us, goodwill to you!

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