Somewhere between the darkness and the light. That is where we are as Christians. And not just at Advent time, but at all times. Somewhere between the fact of darkness and the hope of light. That is who we are.
Frederick Buechner, The Clown in the Belfry
The first time I flew home for Christmas, I was in college 1500 miles from the military base in New Hampshire where my parents lived. My flight was to land at 6 p.m., but weather delayed it. The counter agent promised to let my parents know.
I arrived in Boston three hours late and found no parents. I called home. My mother said at the airport they’d been told my plane arrived and I wasn’t on it. They’d driven fifty miles home in a blizzard.
My father got on the phone. I could tell he was drinking—and furious. He refused to return for me.
“But how do I get home?”
“You’re in college, figure it out!” He hung up.
I took a shuttle to the bus station, waited two hours and, with just enough money to buy a ticket, got the last bus to town. The snow had stopped by the time my taxi pulled up to the house at 2 a.m. My mother paid the cabdriver and helped carry my luggage upstairs. In the corner of my room was a Christmas tree, covered in red lights and white angel hair. It was the first time I’d ever had my own Christmas tree.
For a long time, I watched the tree lights cast a reddish glow on freshly-crested snow outside my window. I thought how good things, like the tree Mom decorated for me despite her allergies, could sometimes cover the bad, as new snow had covered the dirty slush. Even Dad had unknowingly gifted me—with the realization that I’d grown up.
Christmas holds great expectations, but the good is often mixed with the bad. The “hope so” with the “not so much.” It was that way the first Christmas too. Mary and Joseph had an arduous journey. They arrived late and tired with no one to greet them and no room in the inn. But God provided a peaceful stable for His Son to be born, sent out a welcoming angelic band, and decorated the sky with a flaming star. And in Bethlehem “the hopes and fears of all the years” were met that night.
Vicki Huffman’s novel, A Secret Hope, begins and ends in the Christmas season. Its characters also encounter the good mixed with the bad at Christmas. Available in print and e-book at amazon.com.
The staff of Mentoring Moments for Christian Women wishes you a blessed Christmas season. This will be our last post until December 28 as we take a break to celebrate the birth of our Savior with our families.
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