It seems each Christmas I hear more people talk about how difficult this time can be for those who are suffering, depressed, or struggling with loss. Posts like When Darkness Falls at Christmas, What Grieving People Wish You Knew at Christmas, and The Problem with Our Holly Jolly Christmas Songs remind us that in spite of the parties, sentimental commercials, holiday greetings, and family reunions, all is not “calm and bright.” For many of us, Christmas is troubled and dark.
My daughter, Brittany Hope, has had a tender heart for those kinds of people for years. A wife whose husband’s life was snuffed out too early. A young couple burying their stillborn child. Parents carrying the weight of a adult child no longer walking with God. Singles longing for a family of their own.
Brittany’s love for the Savior and those he came to redeem overflows in songs, lyrics, quotes, and poems that she frequently posts on Facebook and Instagram. In line with her middle name, she consistently points others to a God who not only knows the depths of our sufferings and loss, but comforts us in the midst of them through the gospel.
Recently she asked me and her sister, McKenzie, if we’d record one of her songs on video. She wanted to share it with friends whose Christmas is characterized more by sadness than celebration. People for whom the Christmastime seems to be more about darkness than deliverance. So Tuesday night we did a quick video and Brittany posted it on Facebook with the introduction: “A song for those in darkness this Christmas season.”
It’s been 2 1/2 days and her “few friends” have turned into over 100,000 as the video has been shared more than 1800 times. She’s received emails from people she’s never met saying how God used her song to encourage them. One pastor emailed saying this past week a family in his church lost an infant while another family’s 20 year old daughter died in a car accident. He stumbled across the song on Facebook and said numerous people in his church had been comforted through it. Others let us know this would be the first (or second, or third, or tenth) Christmas without a parent, spouse, child, or friend. The pain was still fresh, raw, and profound, and the fight for joy still difficult. They said God used the song not only to allow them to grieve, but to give them hope in the midst of their sadness.
And that’s what Christmas does. It reminds us that we are not yet in the time of uninterrupted joy. Our celebrations are always tainted by the reality that although the Savior has come, everything isn’t yet right. Sorrow is real. Death has not disappeared.
So in the midst of the joy, and perhaps because of it, Christmas is an ideal time to address our pain, sadness, loss, and darkness. For as Isaiah said:
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” (Isaiah 9:2, ESV)
If we had no darkness to deal with, there would be no need for a great light to come. Our darkness is deep, but the salvation and love revealed in Jesus Christ go deeper.
God promises, “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” (Psalm 126:5, ESV) It may be next month, next year, or in the next life. But Jesus Christ, who took our sins upon himself and endured God’s wrath in our place, has made sure that one day every tear will be wiped away.
Christmas assures us that day is coming.
Click below to download the music.
We’ll be making a recording of this song sometime in 2017. If you’d like to be notified when it’s available, you can subscribe here.