It’s been a decade since I’ve attended a midnight Christmas Eve service, or sat in silence while candles burned, writing out notes and cards in the quantities that my capacious evenings then afforded. These days, my attempts to sit down and write are interrupted sometimes every 15 words. I type a little and flinch a little, redraw those evasive Mama-boundaries with harsher-than-I’m-proud-of tone, then dive back in…often giving up after the sound of my own laying-down-the-law Mama-voice in my ears makes switching back to writing mode feel pointless.
There is nothing unusual about this. It’s a season of life, and lots of people can relate. That said, I really am glad I have this lamp we picked up in Nazareth. If you visit the Nazareth Village, they give them out at the end of the tour.
Last night we read aloud from John 1:1-18, and then lit it- turning off all the lights. The moment lasted maybe 90 seconds. But it was 90 seconds of the right kind of stillness. It’s a sight that Jesus, as a three-year-old, would have been familiar with. The oldest brother in a poor Nazareth family and part of a community heaving under the powerful heel of Roman occupation, I think that as a little boy he would already have very deeply felt the “already, but not yet” ache of this broken, beautiful world.
This morning, my three-year-old wanted to light the clay lamp again. She reminded me to “Say the words.”
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”