Sunday, December 23, 2012


Warning: this is the first time I've tried blogging from my iPad... We'll see how it goes. Therefore, if there are mistakes and mishaps, I'm sorry.

The last few weeks I've been a bit overwhelmed. Which I guess can be common around the holiday season. Everyone is busy and stressed because of various things. December is simply a stressful time for a lot of people. Working at a church, I'm no exception. Although now things have calmed down now that my duties at church are over and I'm home with my family.

I haven't been overwhelmed with busyness however.

A couple of weeks ago I felt overwhelmed by darkness.

The darkness of this world.

By the way, this was before the tragedy in Connecticut.

I was talking with the jr. high youth in my Sunday school class about it one week, and we noted that while Christmas/Advent is a happy time, we tend to notice the sadness of the world more during this season. I talked to them about how with weather and the time of year, December is the coldest and darkest time of year. We talked about seasonal depression and how the darkness can bring people further into their sadness.

We notice the poor more so this time of year, and how much or little we have.

People who feel alone in the world feel even more so around the holidays.

Losing loved ones is hard enough, but when it happens in December there is an even darker cloud which covers our hearts.

And yes... the sting of violence is much stronger in December than it is at other seasons.

One of the occupational hazards of youth ministry, or any ministry and several other occupations actually, is that sometimes you learn more about people than you really want to.

I remember when I was in college and in my ministry classes I sort of looked forward to this. I didn't enjoy hearing then hurts of other people, it broke my heart. However, it motivated me even more than before to go into ministry. To help others.

Now... a lot of times I wish I could shut my ears and close my eyes. There are times it's just too much. The darkness is overwhelming.

Yet... That's part of what I love about Christmas and Advent.

When we are surrounded by darkness, we notice a single lit candle all the more.

We might be surrounded by darkness, but all we need is a beam of light from a flashlight in front of us to guide our feet.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ... The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world ... And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:5, 9, 14

That light shines with hope, peace, joy, and love. Whether it is the full sun beaming down on you, or a simple candle in a dark room.

Maybe you love every moment of December and getting ready for whatever holiday it is that you celebrate. Which is awesome. Maybe you dread this time of year and are just waiting for it all to be over. Or maybe you're somewhere in between the two extremes. Any of these are fine.

Wherever you are this Christmas Eve, however you are feeling, I hope you see the light which shines in the darkness.

As Hank Green said in his video responding to Connecticut, remembering that for every gun shot that is fired there are hundreds of more hugs.

The light that brings us hope. The constant light that comes into our dark world, no matter what happens or how we are feeling at a certain moment.

Merry Christmas.


  1. Wow, Em, I needed these words. As a person, the shooting was tough to hear. As a teacher with students close to the same age or some bing the same age, it was heart-wrenching. What a fabulous bunch of reminders tucked within your post.

    Thank you. :)

    1. Thanks Michelle! It was crazy because I was feeling this way literally just a day or two before the shooting. So when the shooting did happen, I kind of just responded coldly because I didn't want to deal with anything. It's better now, but I thought I should post this anyways, you know?

    2. I hear ya. Sometimes there are those things that we write about or plan to write about, but time gets away and it feels like the right moment has passed...but the truth is that those words are welled up in us, and we need the release regardless of time.

      One of the most beautiful things about your writing on your blog is how downright genuine you are about your feelings. I LOVE your fearlessness, and I love your insights. I'm glad you don't hold back posting even when you're feeling a bit "off".

    3. Awwww. Thanks Michelle! I really needed to hear that. I feel like my blog has lost some of it's "heart" recently, and I want to get that back. Just writing what I feel, what I'm thinking about, and this something I'm proud of. Staying genuine. Also, I realized I never responded to that sweet message you sent me on Facebook MONTHS ago! I was going to, but then I was all "I'll see her at Aaron's wedding and we can catch up then." Then I wasn't able to go - sigh. But it really touched me and I was so glad you sent it!

  2. I can understand what you mean...
    we just saw Les showed how the light of one person can dispel so much darkness...
    happy New Year!

    1. Right? OMG I might write a post about that actually one of these days. Les Miserables is one of the few movies/musicals/stories that can really pull off showing the nitty gritty of the world and love and light and faith and doubt. Just... beautiful.


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