A number of years ago I was introduced to the poem, Night’s Lodging, by Luci Shaw. It is a unique and tender take on the birth of Jesus, and I highly recommend it. To describe the night sky, Shaw uses the phrase, “dappled with dark.” I’m not sure if the poet intends for the reader to get caught up on that phrase or not, but I do. It strikes me that more than just the night sky is dappled with dark.
Beautiful and artful Christmas cards have started to arrive, and there is joyful music everywhere you go. But all the lights and the tinsel cannot fully mask that every life is still dappled with dark. In a sense that’s what Christmas is about. No life is free of darkness. No one has mastered sin. We can try with all the focus and good intentions we can muster, but in the end we still need a Savior. We may not have expected Him to be born in a stable to a virgin teen. We may not have envisioned His first visitor to be a shepherd. The story is just not how we would’ve written it. But we are not God, and His ways are above our ways. Thankfully, the story is better than any we could ever dream up and offers hope for the hurting world.
Praying today that we’ll have eyes to see those around us who are suffering, those whose warm smile is an act of the will. I’ve been reminded this week how we cannot know what others are facing. I want to be a listening ear and an attentive friend, but I find myself often making assumptions about people that denies they too are dappled with dark. Why I am so prone to this mistake I do not know, but this season I want to do better. Praying that I’ll enjoy all of the lights but have better perception about the darkness that still pervades our fallen world.
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” Isaiah 9:2 ESV
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being the great light and for coming to earth as that tiny helpless baby to save me. Amen