Finding light in our darkest moments

During the Christmas season and always, each of us can welcome the light of Christ into our heart and experience its comforting, healing power – even when things seem bleak.

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It wasn’t one thing; it was everything. I was stressed about a pile-up of deadlines. Worried about lots of things that were going on in the world. And then, late at night, I got a message telling me that someone I cared about was in desperate straits and feeling suicidal. I stared out into the blackness thinking that it was a pretty good representation of how dark life seemed in that moment.

But is it? came a gentle thought, piercing the heaviness and gloom.

Funny how a simple question can get you looking in a whole new direction – in this case, toward the light instead of into the darkness. And that simple reorientation can move us so naturally away from fear and despair and toward hope, expectation, and healing.

What kind of light could I possibly have found at a moment like that? The words I have for it come from my study of Christian Science, which would characterize it as the light of Truth, or God, the totally good creator who made, maintains, and loves us all. Divine Truth uncovers, exposes, illumines – just like light.

And because God is completely good, anything dark, heavy, or hopeless doesn’t belong to God’s creation. Darkness and hopelessness are a misperception of things – a limited and false view that fades as we let in that light of Truth.

Truth, being true, always shows us what’s real. It reveals solutions where it appears there are problems. It comforts us with the promise of God’s, Love’s, presence where it seems like there’s fear or pain. You could say that just as light illuminates the faint outlines of the objects in a dark room and shows what they actually are, Truth brings to light what we really are as God’s children: spiritual, whole, safe, and so loved.

Here’s another thing that’s so cool about that light of Truth: It has all the power. Darkness doesn’t have any power; it can’t shut out the light. But light, by its very nature, excludes darkness. Darkness can’t elbow its way in, or even hide in the corner. It can’t occupy the same space where light is; the presence of light eliminates it. And no dark or mistaken view of my friend, my work, or the world could share mental space with the light that dawned in my thoughts in that moment.

Outwardly, nothing had changed. But inwardly, everything had. It was like I was seeing it all through the lens of Truth, lit up by the light instead of shrouded in darkness. And from that basis, I started to find traction for my prayers and to move with expectation toward solutions and healing. This light even touched my friend; when she got back to me the next morning, she had turned a corner and was feeling stable and hopeful.

This incident didn’t happen at Christmas, but isn’t it what Christmas is all about: the dawning of a brilliant light that reveals the kingdom of heaven right here with us and brings the resolution of problems big or small? Christ Jesus’ birth marked the advent of this message of Truth for the whole world. But the Christ – the healing power he exemplified and embodied – is for all time. It’s “without beginning of years or end of days,” as Mary Baker Eddy puts it in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” (p. 333).

That means it’s always present to shed light on the darkest places in our lives. It’s always here to illuminate our consciousness with true and holy views of God’s universe, and what these views mean for us.

I still have moments when the “night” of a problem seems long and the blackness thick. Maybe you do, too. And yet, what I know now with more conviction is that the promise of Christmas really is for every day, every moment. “The dark night wakes, the glory breaks,” as a Christmas carol puts it (Phillips Brooks, “Christian Science Hymnal,” No. 222). And the light of knowing that we are saved – and safe – washes over us.

Originally published in the Christian Science Sentinel’s online TeenConnect section, Dec. 1, 2019.

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