2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined. 3 You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. 4 For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Living with anxiety, I have walked through the darkest of shadows. So many people feel darkness every day, whether due to losing a loved one or even losing themselves. The cloud of anxiety has caused me to question God. I think one of the most challenging phrases to hear is: “everything happens for a reason.” But why do bad things happen? There is no clear answer for this, but one thing I can say is that darkness teaches us lessons. Darkness has made me thankful for in-person school, an in-person youth group, and an in-person church. Dark daily shadows push me to look for the light behind the clouds. Darkness opens the gates to promise, hope, and peace. The birth of Jesus was a bright light that shone into the world. Jesus has walked beside us through our smallest of struggles and our biggest of problems. This Christmas, we must remember that Jesus is the one we turn to when we are in the dark. Jesus guides us to light in the darkest of times. Amen.