Bombs were falling all across Baghdad. The green glowing phosphorus streams of anti-aircraft bullets punctured the black night sky. We sat and watched the news coverage from a recliner and couch with the Christmas tree still looming in the corner of the living room. Somewhere across the world others were huddled in hallways. The deafening thud of carpet bombing beat louder than their heartbeats. And yet for many their hearts were still beating. People still fell in love, got married, had children and went on to live their lives.
People keep on keeping on even in the midst of wars, raging fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, floods, economic downturns, and global political crisis. Winston Churchill famously said once, “If you are going through hell; keep going!” Isn’t that some of the best advice ever? Why would you stop?
For me, this perseverance to march on in the midst of the darkest days is exactly what the Christmas story has become about. On one of the longest, coldest nights of the year, the world was given a new life. The parents had submitted to the government’s tyranny. They had walked
nine days for a census. They had no place to stay. Yet, they
had each other and the everlasting gift of life. They had to flee from Herod, who ordered every child under the age of two destroyed. They still persisted. Their story is part of our story.
We are made to persevere. That is part of what it means to be made in God’s image. Many of you have made it through your own dark nights of the soul. You have come over the mountains or through a valley. Some of you may still be looking for the light. Others may just be beginning a journey with a destination unknown. Wherever you are, remember as the Christmas season approaches and the daylight lessens; there is a light that has come into this world and the darkness of war, natural disaster, economic upheaval or political turnover has never been able to extinguish it. That light is in you! May you continue to share God’s love, shine God’s light, shape God’s people! If you need hope, may you find strength in the story of a family and a child who came to save the world.
Rev. Trey Hegar