Light Shines Out of Darkness

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The simplest gift can become a beacon of light, illuminating the darkness...or just lifting a spirit.

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. —2 Corinthians4:6 (niv)

Fourth Sunday in Advent: Light Shines Out of Darkness

My most successful Christmas present this year was a tiny crystal poinsettia for my mother-in-law. Normally I’d loath spending money on a knickknack, but I thought it might, to use one of her pet phrases, “catch her eye.”

Mamaw, as we call her, has slipped so deep into dementia she’s past knowing it’s Christmas. Still, I go through the motions of buying gifts for and from her. It’s tradition.

Mamaw’s Christmas sweater has poinsettias on it. And she likes red, she told a nurse the other day. It was like a gift, that remark. “Red,” she said, as the nurse adjusted the blood pressure cuff on her skinny arm.

“You mean this?” The nurse touched her name tag, which had red letters. I doubted Mamaw, with her failing eyesight, could see them.

“I like red,” Mamaw clarified.

After breakfast, I set the poinsettia on its mirror on her kitchen table. It collected the meager illumination in her dark house to create a pond of light, shimmering with red. Mamaw reached out a finger. I could tell she liked it. “The girls got it for you,” I lied. She especially prizes gifts from them.

The poinsettia stayed on her table long after Christmas. Every so often, when I’d visit, she’d point to it there, in its pool of light, and say the girls’ names. Or pretty. Or red.

Father, thank You for light and beauty and love. Thank You for the gift of Your Son. —Patty Kirk
Digging Deeper: Mt 1:23, 2:11

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