Christmas is only a couple of days away. This week I am lighting the love candle to add to those of gratitude, peace, joy and hope that I have lit in past weeks. The light shines brightly in the early morning darkness, reminding me of how Christ’s light shines in some of the darkest parts of our world.
Sometimes we look around us in despair and long for the coming of Christ’s light in all his fullness. Then we catch glimpses of where that light has already entered our world and it dazzles us with its brightness filling our hearts with gratitude, hope, and joy.
We watch the unsung heroes whose lives make a difference in places of grief and despair. People like Sandra Lako, a physician who works in Sierra Leone. I first met Sandra when she was six years old, ministering with her family on board the mercy ship M/V Anastasis. Her whole life, like that of her parents Rene and Marianne who now work in Haiti, has been dedicated to those less fortunate than we are.
Sandra has lost several colleagues to Ebola, and lives and works under the constant threat of its deadly grip. Sierra Leone has banned Christmas and New Year gatherings this year and Sandra has cancelled her own personal celebrations with friends and family in the U.S. Yet Christ is being birthed in that country because of the commitment that she and her colleagues have made. Pray for them and light your own Christmas candle for them.
We watch those who struggle with their own heavy burdens of illness, death and injustice and still manage to shine like bright Christmas stars in our midst. Like my friend Niki Foster Hibbert, undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. The doctors only expect her to live for around three years, from Niki’s perspective 1,000 days to share blessings. Sometimes these blessings are filled with joy, other times with heartache. I am following Niki’s daily journey on Facebook, laughing and crying with her and her family and friends. It is a beautiful though obviously painful journey which is touching the lives of many and filling all of us with Christ light.
So as you gather round the manger this week, whose light shines in the darkness for you? Who do you think of that has filled you and those around you with Christ light?