Thursday, December 24, 2009

Finding Your Way this Christmas

It was just drizzling that night when Danya, David, and I set out for David's JV basketball game. Rich and Derek had gone in a different direction, to Derek's middle school game, but with my two older kids in tow, and armed with a set of directions, I felt pretty confident that we could find our way. We started heading across Nashville and then out of town, eventually turning off the Interstate and onto winding country roads. We soon came to the "gravel road" listed on the directions that was to take us straight to the school. But it sure seemed like we were in the middle of nowhere.

There were no lights anywhere. No houses, no streetlights-- definitely no lights of a big high school or its parking lot. The unpaved road blended into the night, and I began to inch along as I realized I couldn't see in front of me. Literally. My heart pounded with fear and I got that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Did I take a wrong turn? Where are we? It was like my lights were just staring into thick, inky tar. They did not penetrate the darkness. They did not illuminate the way, and I felt more than lost--I felt hopeless.

I came to a complete stop and asked my kids, "Y'all, I can't see. Do either of you want to drive?" I thought maybe it was just me, because my night vision isn't all that great anyway. But just then, another car came down the road behind us. Wonderful! I'll let them get in front of me and then I'll follow, I thought. Seconds later, they came to a complete stop as well. No vision. No light to see the path.

Danya decided she would take over, so she got in the driver's seat. Just as she did, a Hummer came down the road, lit up like a Christmas tree. Danya followed that vehicle straight to the gym. When we went in the building, the person there said that he had just turned on the outside lights and it took a while for them to warm up. Of course, that wasn't helping all the folks who were out there trying to find their way!

You know, I have been a Christian for most of my life. It is easy to forget what it feels like to be lost. As my family continues to minister at our inner-city church, we have seen a great deal of the lost, hurting, and hopeless in the past year: a woman on the run from an abusive boyfriend, trying to make a new start; a disabled Desert Storm vet trying to shake his addictions and his memories; a 15-year-old gang member whose choices have landed him in juvi for the next four years. The bottom line is that we all come from the same place: lostness. And it's necessary for us Christians to remember that heart-pounding, sick-stomach-feeling of hopelessness that goes with it.

Isn't that what Christmas is all about? Remembering the darkness that was our lot before the gift of His Light? Immanuel. God with us. God. With. Us. It is to this lost, dark world that God sent His Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He illuminates the way! He is the Hope of Glory! That's what we celebrate at Christmas. The prophet Isaiah said it this way:

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. (Isaiah 9:2)

As you celebrate this holy time with your family, please remember: The darkness is overwhelming when your lights are insufficient. Even the best map is useless when you don't see anywhere to turn. And leaders become obsolete when they give up and park. So turn on your lights! People are out there trying to find their way.



Edie said...

"Turn on your lights." Amen to that! Great post Rebecca and I'm so glad you found your way.

Merry Christmas and Rich Blessings for 2010!

Kelly Combs said...

Beautiful post. Glad you arrived safely at your destination. May we all be so blessed.

Mommy to Constance said...

Wow! Great posting. Thanks for sharing and being an encouragment

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