“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:1, 3-4
As young children living in tornado alley, my and my siblings’ neighborhood playtimes were interrupted by weather fairly often. At least, that’s my perception thinking back on the time when our family lived in Oklahoma. Perhaps it felt like it happened a lot because when a tornado warning siren blasted through our neighborhood, I was always outdoors playing with my siblings and friends and one of the speakers was right above where we played. As the siren warning screamed in my ears, we knew to stop whatever game we were playing, scatter to our homes, and go inside. Immediately our moms would herd us down our house’s basement steps to shelter from the storm. It was all very dramatic. For me, it was the most frightening event I had ever known.
It was extremely dark in the basement. I remember the single lightbulb hanging from the center of the low ceiling which made the room even more creepy-looking. It wasn’t covered like the light fixtures upstairs in our home. Sometimes the power was out. When Dad was home (in my memory, he always was), he would locate the emergency flashlights and lantern. It would take him a few minutes. Those moments lasted forever.
Sitting on the stairs in the dark with my four siblings and our mama, we would try to be silly. Try to hide our fear with funny jokes and stories. It didn’t work. Basements then were not the game rooms and Man-caves they are today. Kids were not allowed to play in them as our parents kept things like bleach and turpentine and chain saws there. Unsafe items children were not allowed to be around. So, the basement in our Oklahoma house wasn’t an inviting or friendly space. But when a tornado was spotted, the dingy basement below our house became the only safe place.
Moments before my dad located the emergency lights, I would sit on a step with my legs tucked, my knees under my chin and try to join in the giggles of my younger brothers and sister. But laughter would not come as I listened to my Dad’s footsteps above our heads. Instead tears threatened to spill out of the corners of my eyes. I worried my Dad wasn’t with us in the tornado shelter and what if the funnel hit our house while he was upstairs. And then all if a sudden, there he was. Dad would join us with the emergency kit and in a flash the frightening darkness was flooded with the lantern light. Each of us were handed a lit flashlight. Kids’ laughs quickly released the tension in the small underground room. As the welcomed light penetrated the gloomy basement, fear left us. I felt safe sheltered there with my family. All of us sitting in the light.
Sometimes, the 21st century realities of life on earth can be so overwhelming it becomes difficult to breathe. Like a dank, dark basement, it is not a friendly, safe place. Another innocent life taken by a raging lunatic is reported. She is an elderly woman murdered for the meager contents of her purse. The news reports blast these dark stories of death and evil 24/7. It makes no sense. Another suicide. Another murder. Another kidnapped child. Another terrorist attack. It goes on and on and the creepy darkness of this world takes away our peace and leaves us fear-filled and anxious.
The personal struggles, closer to home, threaten our peace daily. A divorce in the family. A cancer diagnosis. A rebellious child. Days of illness and worry and anxiety accumulate. The stressful storms of daily life in this fallen world are too much with us.
“And the light shines in the darkness.” John 1:5
Jesus. God. The Word.
He loves us so he much.
He did and does and always will.
“Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.” Philippians 2:6
Jesus left the throne of Heaven’s Kingdom to walk with us here on this earth. He gave up his place as the Prince of Heaven. He gave up his Sonship with God the Father to become our Brother.
“He looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.’” Mark 3:34-35
Jesus came to bring Light to us sitting in the dark.
He is the Light.
Jesus brought Hope.
He brought the Light as Himself.
He is our emergency kit and when the storms hit and when we are so despairing, so fearful, so overwhelmed we cannot see our way, Jesus
brings the Light. And His Light allows us joy in the midst of despair. His Light brings hope in the middle of turmoil.
The Light shines so we can see.
See our purpose. See His plan.
The Light shines so we can see the purpose, plans and promises of our Lord in the face of earth’s wickedness.