Walking Our Faith: A reason for living
Walking Our Faith
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” — John 1:1-5 New International Version
This is it. These five verses explain not only my faith in God but in the hope of life.
In the darkness of our winter night, the prayers we bring to the edge of the manger, held like offerings of the three kings, are different each year. This year, it has helped me to find a home before the apartment I rent is sold in July. Last year, it helped keep my family safe during this pandemic, and the year before, it helped me to stop drinking.
If we are truly humble, we remember to offer gifts of gratitude tucked in among our pleas for help. Thank you, God, for another year living in this beautiful mountain community I call home. Thank you, God, for the good people of this community that I call friends and neighbors. Thank you, God, for loving me when I could not love myself.
If we are asleep spiritually, we wonder why we celebrate the birth of Christ every year. We grumble that it’s just the commercialization of another day meant to cause us to needlessly buy gifts for others and figure out what to do with the kids for the two weeks they have off from school while we must work.
In the multitude of holiday lights adorning every tree and building, in the press of holiday traffic, in the torrent of holiday gift wrap and long lines at the post office, some of us might wish to do away with this annual celebration.
The novelty of the Christmas season we experienced right after Thanksgiving might have worn off, and the infectious excitement of children gathered around the Christmas tree has not yet arrived. Right now, it might just feel like a dark winter night.
And this is when I want us to read these five verses from the opening of the Gospel of Saint John. To my mind, these deceptively simple, mystical verses are the reason for the season and the glimmer of hope that beckons me forward through the darkness.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”
We have a reason to celebrate the birth of Christ 2000 years later because that doesn’t seem too long for one who was always present. God who always was and is, is always present to hear our prayers.
“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”
This verse could be a stumbling block. It reminds us of all the good and sorrow in this life and lays it at the feet of the infant swaddled in the manger. It pierces our heart when we sit next to a loved one in the hospital holding her hand and asking God if he would please heal her, again.
“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
It is this verse that I cling to when a broken heart threatens to break me.
God hears our prayers. When we have exhausted all the ways we know to pray and our petitions have become wordless groans, God offers the surety that he has overcome the darkness, that the light is his love for us, and he is the light of the world.
This promise gives me the strength to go forward and offers cause for celebration on Christmas Day and reason for hope every day in between.
I have struggled with depression throughout my life and sought help when I needed it. Therapists and medication helped me when I couldn’t help myself. I hope you will do the same if you, like many others, feel overwhelmed or sad during this time of year. Please reach out to Building Hope Summit County at BuildingHopeSummit.org to receive the help you need.
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking Our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at email@example.com.
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