Last Christmas eve, as I was leaving church, I wished everyone a very merry Christmas. One lady responded by saying that church attendance, especially on Christmas eve, is like “holding hands in the dark.”
As we look around and read the headlines, it does seem that the world is a very dark place. Every day we read stories of death and mayhem. In our large cities, the murder rates in some neighborhoods approach those in some far-off battleground. Visit a hospital emergency room and see the suffering and despair writ so large upon the faces of those waiting there. Witness the apparent indifference or condescension sometimes shown by those who have so much toward those who have so little. Yes, it can be a bleak and cruel world. That fact is vividly illustrated in the content of those news and so-called entertainment programs that dominate our media. Stories of conflict, disaster, and death fill our television screens, our movies, and our popular literature.
Yes, the world can be dark and dreary.
But the world can also be warm and beautiful. Observe the dawn of a beautiful morning when the sunlight breaks through low hanging clouds and suffuses all nature with a warm, rosy glow. Regard the happy, innocent smile of a child as she looks into the eyes of her loving mother. Listen to the sound of children’s laughter. Immerse your soul in beautiful, inspiring music. Think of the warm feelings of joy and fellowship as the family gathers around the dinner table or as we experience sweet union with Christian brothers and sisters in worshiping our Risen Lord.
When we experience loss or sickness or troubles, we are prone to think of it as the worst of times, and we grow discouraged. But think again. Compare your own situation to the plight of Christians in ancient Rome when they faced the persecutions. And what about the problems of modern-day people of faith who are subjected to imprisonment and death in various parts of the world. Troubles abound in every age, but the Lord is with us every step of the way.
In many ways these are the best of times. It is the time and place in which God placed us.
Let us hold hands and step forward into the darkness with faith.
Praise the Lord!