Today, after I roof-raked the 6 inches of snow off the eaves of the house and gathered in a bit more wood, I decided I’d better punch my way through the bank of snow the town plow left at the end of the drive and head in to pick up a couple gifts for some upcoming Yankee swaps.

I browsed around a couple of stores where Christmas carols were playing over the sounds of shoppers.

And I marveled, as I do at this time each year, that Christmas is that one solitary time of the year when, for a few days at least, some rays of light and hope break through into a dark world.

And for a little while, those who might the rest of the year use Jesus’ name only when taking it in vain now, at just the mention of his name drifting down upon their ears seem to somehow come under a softening effect.

Theologians would call it “common grace,” the spill over of his grace to us all, whether we ask for it or not.

Last week, we saw what evil unleashed on innocents looks and sounds like. How welcome it is then, to be reminded that “in these dark streets shineth The Everlasting Light” and that “the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”

Beneath that shining and in that meeting, hope swells and rightfully takes center stage again and fear slinks back into dark corners from whence it came.

David Clinard


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