Of Grace & Growth #4: Light In Darkness

By Sydney Dorr

It was the end of a long day filled with tree hunting, hot cocoa, movies, family and general Christmas Cheer. Dishes overflowed the sink, dinner fixings cluttered the counter.

I paused in the festive lull, watching my son industriously consume his dinner – and my heart ached. Ached with love for him; ached considering the world he will inherit. Its darkness loomed large in my mind – the war, tragedy, want, terror, greed, catastrophe, corruption, and oppression making me quail.

The darkness is not a new enemy, but an old reality. It wormed into humanity’s story when we had barely begun and has entangled us ever since. 2,018 years ago mothers ached with love and fear, conscious of the darkness that they were born into and that their children could not escape.  And then God came.

Emmanuel. The Prince of Peace. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” Isaiah triumphantly declares. (Is. 9:2 ESV) The Light of the World stepped into the world through a mother. And the cries of Mary as she labored to birth her holy son were war cries against the darkness. She had been appointed for this moment. Assigned to this mission. Chosen to unleash the Rescuer onto his battlefield.

Mary became a home for the Light himself. She cooked his meals and tucked him in at night. She was no stranger to fear. “A sword will pierce your soul, too.” Simeon prophesied over her. But she held fast to a promise – that Light would defeat the darkness. For the sake of the promise, she raised her son to carry out his calling. From her household the Light shone and the darkness could not overcome it.

We know that the promise was fulfilled. As he hung on a tree 33 years later, Jesus dealt the death-blow to Death itself and set us free. His battle was won, but his Kingdom was not fully established. Now he calls us live in the Light, to carry it where Hell still has a hold and drive back darkness until he returns to defeat it absolutely.

In this season, when the magical and terrifying and mundane and holy tangle themselves up in my life, I look to Mary and the son she bore. I may not be called to raise the Son of God, but I am called to raise sons of God. Like Mary, I will make a dwelling place for the Light. I will equip my children to carry out the callings that I cannot see. I’ll make my 4000th PB&J and wade through seas of laundry and Legos. I’ll put off scrambling eggs to talk with my hurt and furious 4-year-old about bitterness and forgiveness and a Jesus who heals.

Like Mary, we have been appointed. Assigned to a mission. Chosen to unleash people into the world. We will not fear. We will fight. Like Mary, we will set our faces against the darkness, partnering with God and his promise that the Light will eternally prevail. And our war cries will be songs of praise to the Rescuer and songs of love and life over the ones he has given us to raise and release.

Whitney Parnell1 Comment