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This time of year is dark.

I walk my son to school in the dim pre-sunrise gray, and I walk back home again after dropping him off as red starts to tint the sky in the east. By the time I pick him up again and he’s played outside with his friends for about an hour, the sun is already sinking in the west–day complete.

Living this far north, the days are incredibly short, the night is incredibly long, and winter tends to get incredibly cold. (This winter is the exception on the cold, though…) Going without much daylight can take a real toll on a person’s moods, and Christmas becomes more and more important. It’s a sparkle of light in the darkness.

Candle_light,_pillar_candleWe need this!

I look forward to soft glowing lights, the candles, the ornaments. It would all look rather gawdy if it took place in the middle of summer, but put it into the dead of winter with cold, short days, and it becomes magical. It fills our hearts with wonder and hope, and gives us something to look forward to.

Gifts, cookies, syrupy drinks and sparkling lights–it’s just what the doctor ordered for us light-starved northerners, and I feel a strange kinship to the pagans who celebrated yuletide at the very same time of year by burning their yule logs–light piercing through the darkness.

White_Christmas_Tree_Lights_at_NightI am a Christian–certainly not pagan–but there are some things that are just human. They span religion, time, even continents… There is a reason why people have clung to Christmas. We need this.

Light in darkness. Hope for something better. Love and community. Some dream of a white Christmas, others listen for the sleigh bells on Santa’s sled. I wait for the Christmas lights–the soft glow of tiny lights piercing the darkness.

Because in my heart, I’m thinking of a stable and a manger, when heaven touched earth with the Light of the World.

Merry Christmas, everyone! May your holiday be filled all the beauty of the Christmas season.