Advent, a time of waiting and preparing, is one of my favorite seasons. It is a time filled with expectation and anticipation, with a sense of yearning for something. Something we greatly need – a Savior, who will rescue us from all that is not right in the world around us, and all that is not right within us. The Scriptures (Isaiah, chapter 9) express that yearning for rescue from oppression so well: “…there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress….The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned…you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor…”.
Some days I have a sense that we are indeed “living in the land of deep darkness”. There is “deep darkness” in so many of the stories we hear from clients. Stories filled with the unimaginable pain resulting from years of abuse, abandonment and rejection. Stories that give evidence of the many ways people who are supposed to love each other can also hurt each other so deeply. Stories of long days and nights experiencing unshakable depression or unending worry. Stories that express hopelessness and a sense that there is no chance for rescue. It is amazing to work each day in a place where we are privileged to hear these stories. It is a great trust. It is humbling to sit with someone who is so vulnerable and open, sharing such intimate pain. With them, and with the writer of Isaiah, I too sometimes feel that sense of gloom, distress, darkness, burden and oppression. And the more hopelessness I experience, the more deeply I feel the longing for rescue.
One of great joys of my life during the past 10 years has been to be a part of Sonshine Singers, an interdenominational choral group of 120 amazing voices in Fort Dodge. During one of the songs we sing at Christmas, I think of those we serve. In the anthem Christ is Here, we sing: “To our darkened world a light has come; to our broken hearts a day of hope has dawned. The mountains bow and valleys lift their song; declaring the arrival of the Holy One. On the earth His love has shown – we are not alone! God is with us, He has come to save us, Mercy lights the darkness, Christ is Here. He is with us, Healer of the Broken, Work of heaven spoken, Christ is here….” That line “Mercy lights the darkness” has had a lot of meaning for me this year. It is mercy that caused God to provide the rescue that each of us needs. Mercy – in the form of Jesus – lights the darkness. Because of Him, we have hope when all else seems hopeless. Because of Him, we have peace when everything around us is falling apart. With Him, we are safe when no other relationship is. It is a privilege to share Him – Jesus, the One born to save us – our Rescuer – with our clients at times when they are open to hearing about this source of great and lasting peace.
Thank you for helping to make this possible through your partnership of gifts and prayers. May Jesus be the answer to every longing in your heart this Advent season.