The tree is decorated, looking perfectly gorgeous with our imperfect and oh-so-special ornaments. The needlepoint stockings, those blessedly brought back by the angel of lost things, adorn the hearth, and this year I have added a green garland, little white lights, candles, and shiny balls there too. This feels festive and sweet and happy.

Mamaw’s straw angels sit beside the fireplace on one side, along with the little wooden chair and broom from our childhoods. On the other side of the fireplace are white candle holder stands and holders and a big wicker basket with a big Christmas bow. The basket is filled with all the Christmas books I brought back from France, the ones we read to our boys in Christmases gone by and that we now read with the grandkids, and they read to us. The blessedness of time passing and coming back around to make new memories of the old.

Just yesterday in fact, the three oldest grandkids sat cuddled on the couches, each with one of those cherished Christmas books. Naj started reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and then switched to How The Grinch Stole Christmas, which Jesse finished. I reread it for Quinn, who snuggled close, those huge, dark, dark brown eyes staring up at me, so serious, our little philosopher.

Once they were all tucked snug in their beds, I wandered downstairs where a stray shoe lay under the table and a few colored markers lay on the floor beside the kids’ masterpieces, the Christmas Coloring book becoming their favorite creative outlet.

So Christmas will come, yes, surely it will, Lord. In spite of 2020.

It will come in a quieter way this year, an exhausted way, not from endless travel, but from the drain of a pandemic and the way it has brought out the best and the worst in the world.

I am so thankful that Your Advent came in the midst of chaos and cruel kings and darkness and fear. I’m thankful that I can look back on that glorious breakthrough and know that You are still a God who gloriously breaks through our lives and our hearts.

You do it as we pause in the midst of our confusion to celebrate the first time You came. We contemplate what Incarnation means. We wait and wonder.

What a wonder that You came!

I penned this poem over twenty-five years ago, during a dark time in my life. As I remembered that first glorious Advent, once again His light broke into my soul. I pray that that Light will imbue your hearts and souls in this curious Advent season. Our God is not surprised.

Dark Night of the Soul

Dark night of the soul

Searching for a light

Deep despair stood there

On that dark night

Dark night of the soul

Hold on one more hour

Til the star brings Light

And heavenly power

Piercing through the dark

Comes a Baby’s cry

Dark dissolves in Light

With Hope held high

Each enlightened soul

Unburdened through that Birth

Shines starlight to

A desperate, dying earth

Dark night of my soul

Shadows shade the Light

Draw me deeper down

Where doubt finds sight

Dark night of my soul

Holy, hurting hour

Blind me by Your bright

Unchanging power

Piercing through the dark

Comes a Baby’s cry

Dark dissolves in Light

With Hope held high

Each enlightened soul

Unburdened through that Birth

Shines starlight to

A desperate, dying earth

Purified through pain

A hollow heart made whole

Come, Saviour, light

The dark night of our soul

Praise Him, Who lights

The dark night of our soul

           

ELIZABETH MUSSER writes ‘entertainment with a soul’ from her writing chalet—tool shed—outside Lyon, France. Find more about Elizabeth’s novels at www.elizabethmusser.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and her blog

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