One afternoon, about a month before Christmas, I came home from work to find that our power had been turned off. My husband’s job loss had thrown us into a grim period of financial uncertainty, including the inability, at times, to pay our bills. Fortunately, my husband found a way of paying off the power bill and assured me that we would have power again by the next day. However, that night, it was dark in our tiny, seventh floor apartment.
I dusted the apartment by candlelight and later went out and sat on the stairs leading up to the 8th floor, to do my Bible reading. For a while, though, I simply stayed in our living room, lit by the shadowy light of the candles. Signs of Christmas were everywhere: in the stores, in brightly lit decorations, in festivities, concerts and tightly stuffed mailboxes. The pace would only quicken during the next few weeks. As I reflected quietly though, in our candlelit room, it occurred to me that my dark surroundings were much closer to the first Christmas, than the festivities we would later enjoy. The stable was not likely bright nor spacious. The circumstances were humble. Mary and Joseph were facing uncertainty and perhaps fear.The angels would come in all their bright and holy splendour, but for now, there was birth and pain and darkness.
The next day, we celebrated our youngest daughter’s birthday. Not long after her friends arrived, the power was restored. The apartment was bright and cheerful. We never lost our power again and our circumstances gradually improved. However, I will never forget that night of flickering candlelight and my small glimpse into the long ago darkness of the stable night.
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:2, NIV).
Ruth Ann Adams