Abide: Yet in Thy Dark Streets Shineth

I love this time of year. Yet sometimes, when darkness falls early, with an ungraceful thud, I find it to be kind of a bummer.

Especially when it’s 4:30 PM and already too dark to take a decent picture of new pieces for the shop… And even more especially when I’m extra-excited about them.

That was the case for what would’ve been yesterday’s post. (And is now today’s.) This lyric has taken up residence in my heart for the past month or so, as I thought about the dearest phrases of Christmas time.

(This piece will be up in the shop by tonight at 10pm!)

Everlasting Light 2

I said recently that winter is dark. (I know- thanks, Captain Obvious.) And so is the world. And yet– in earth’s darkest time of the year, we celebrate light. We celebrate the Light. The Word came down and spoke a new word to us- hope.

A Thrill

The world is dark.

Yet. We have the hope of Christ dwelling in us- the hope of glory. That’s a pretty powerful “yet.”

One powerful reason why I love that line.

Yet in thy dark streets shineth the Everlasting Light. 

Everlasting Light 1

It gives me hope that Christ really can and does abide in me. After all, his name is Emmanuel- God with us. If I can just get out of the way…That’s the hard part.

I had a conversation with a friend this week about how if I just focused on Jesus, delighting in the Lord, and seeking his kingdom I probably wouldn’t be hindered by all the ways I’m broken.

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Do you do that, too? Put yourself back into the chains from which Christ has already freed you? Like being stuck in some impossible level of an old video game where you are forced to wander but can’t get anywhere, I often feel stuck in my own darkness.

Yet. It’s one of the best three-letter-words ever. Jesus takes hold of my circular thoughts and hushes my run-on sentences with this one phrase.

Yet in thy dark streets shineth the Everlasting Light.

Really? In these dark streets? The well-worn paths of shame I’ve walked in my heart? I’ve been stuck in that part of town for so long. I long to find where he is and stay there in his presence.

Prepare Him Room

We make it so hard, but I think if I can just focus on the light, I won’t be so confounded by darkness.

That’s why there are so many songs worth singing at Christmas time. Let’s rejoice! Let’s forget and let go of our old paths; that’s not who we are anymore. I know it’s hard, because we get so used to depending on ourselves (which is like driving a car which could die at any time), but abiding means we depend on Jesus for everything now, starting with this moment.

As my friend Wendy always says, “If you can trust Jesus with your eternity, you can trust him with your now.”

I love this verse of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” which often doesn’t get sung:

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous Gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

“So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven.”  Isn’t that so good?

I also love, “Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.”  I think I’ve mentioned this before, but something else Wendy shared with me is that the word “meek” in the Bible comes from the word that means “warhorse.” A creature that puts unmovable faith in its master, who can face a multitude of hostile enemies and go charging forward into the fray- because it’s master urged it to.

So, to say your soul is “meek” now paints a very different picture than it used to for me.

Not only am I redeemed, I am a servant with access to the power of the Most High God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The power to be set free from the petty prison-town of my old ways. That’s the Christmas Story.

And I really should know it, because I sing it to my daughter every night before she goes to sleep:

Jesus loves me, this I know

For the Bible tells me so

Little ones to Him belong

They are weak but He is strong.

I feel all but made of weakness, yet he fills instead with strength. My default is thrashing ingratitude and blind self-absorption, yet he creates in me a new heart and redeems every failure with his sufficient grace.

I have a heart of darkness. Yet in thy dark streets shineth, the Everlasting Light.

Everlasting Light 2

May the story of Christ give you a thrill of hope today that chases away all your darkness.

 

 

Some holiday housekeeping for Ebenezer Designs:

  1. Remember, every print in my shop is a downloadable, digital print (unless otherwise specified). Obviously, these you can download and print yourself. BUT, if you decide you’d like to order a physical print to be mailed to you, you’ll notice that’s a separate listing for both 8×10 and 5×7 prints.
  2. Don’t forget about the Christmas cards!!! I’m SO excited about these, friends, and I only have about 9 sets left! And those are NOT downloadable. Remember each set comes with 4 different card designs. Rejoice Wreath Love Hans Comfort and Joy A Beautiful Sight
  3. Any item to be mailed- i.e. Christmas cards, physical prints, etc.- needs to be ordered by Wednesday, December 16th at the very latest. 
  4. There may be a special Christmas gift package on sale in the next couple of weeks, so keep your eye out for that!