Dealing with Darkness at Christmas

tree-407256_1920_fotorIt 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 ChristmasWhat 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 an 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.


UPDATE: This song is now available on Brittany’s album, Glory in the Darkest Place

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12 Responses to Dealing with Darkness at Christmas

  1. Dan December 23, 2016 at 5:29 PM #

    The heart felt “quick” video that you did earlier this week is good enough for me. Thank you for your ministry! Merry Christmas!

  2. kendradsmith January 2, 2017 at 7:40 PM #

    So many people hurting this time of year. Beautiful reminder of who our comforter is.

  3. Rick Poelhuis January 3, 2017 at 12:53 AM #

    Blessed by your words and heart for understanding the pain and sorrow that comes at this time of year in the midst of the joyful celebration of Christmas. We lost our 7 month old grandson in May and my wife’s mother in June. We have needed the reminder of the “beam of hope for our troubled hearts”. Our hearts cry out Glory in our darkest place to our Comforter and Healer.

    • Bob Kauflin January 3, 2017 at 4:32 PM #

      Rick, grateful to God that Brittany’s song served you. May you find the hope we have in the Savior to be a great and enduring comfort for your souls.

  4. Marie Strupith March 1, 2017 at 12:47 PM #

    This is sung beautifully by your daughters, thank you. Christmas has been a very difficult time for us since we lost our 47 year old precious daughter to stage 4 colon cancer December 28, 2010. Six months later my dear mama passed from ovarian cancer and 11 months later my dear young brother took his life. It is very hard to feel like celebrating the holiday. I appreciate your daughter who has a heart for those who suffer loss and understand how it is particularly hard during the holidays who find it difficult to celebrate. Please know I am a Christian and I love my Lord and I know He loves me. I want to say thank you and your daughter for this song. I learned of you as my husband and I are live streaming the Shepherds Conference 17. Enjoyed your music. Thanks again. Marie Strupith

    • Bob Kauflin March 1, 2017 at 4:56 PM #

      Marie, thanks so much for sharing your story of loss. I pray you experience God’s deep comfort in Christ more and more in the days ahead. He knows our griefs and has carried our sorrows and our sins. There is no one like him.

  5. Kristen October 27, 2019 at 10:50 AM #

    Have you considered creating a background track? I know that a lot of people would be blessed by this over the holiday season.

    • Bob Kauflin October 30, 2019 at 8:19 AM #

      Kristen, what do you mean by a background track?

      • Kristen December 17, 2019 at 5:25 PM #

        An accompaniment with just the instrumental background so that others can sing it in church, etc. I did see the sheet music posted, but it’s so beautiful with the strings as well!

        • Bob Kauflin December 17, 2019 at 5:37 PM #

          Kristen, we don’t have that available. Sorry!


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