Mom would make magic bars – those delightfully tasty, baked combinations of graham cracker crumbs, coconut, chocolate chips and walnuts held together with butter and sweetened condensed milk – and Dad would sit us down in the living room and crack open the Good Book.
It was the only time of the year he would read it out loud to us, so we knew it was special. Luke 2:
“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree went out from Caesar Augustus …”
This is that time of year, when Christians mark the birth of the Prince of Peace. It doesn’t feel so peaceful lately.
People are going out of their way to be nasty to one another, to drum up our fear of our fellow man. If they’re not doing it with words, they’re doing it with weapons.
They want us to be afraid that Those People want to take our jobs, our way of life, and maybe our lives themselves. They want us to be afraid of what would happen if this or that man, or this or that woman, or this or that political party, is put in control of our vast government.
And in the midst of this fear fest, we pause to give gifts to one another in the name of a baby whose arrival was announced by a host of angels who began their message, “Fear not.”
Monday we lived through the shortest, darkest day of the year, the Winter Solstice. Beginning with this celebration of the Prince of Peace, there will be more light in our lives.
The amount of daylight will increase every day, and after a period of cold the days will grow warmer as they grow longer, until the fields begin to grow food and there is far more sunlight than darkness every day.
It’s a cycle, of course. Externally, 12 months from now, we’ll be in the darkness again, needing another reminder of the promise of the Prince of Peace.
But the light always comes again.
The light can shine all day and all night, all through the year, if we choose to follow the example of this Prince. My hope and prayer for this season is that more of us turn to the light.