It was late, and the party staff ushered us into the hall. I stood by as my husband chatted it up with the others standing nearby. I could feel my heels giving way to a pain that often comes with a side of impatience. I was working up the nerve to give my husband “the signal” for the third time when someone approached me.
Soon, we started talking about happiness and how being a bit cynical can make it difficult to believe there are people who do good and that genuine smiles exist. A few minutes later, he said something that caught me off-guard.
“If I’m honest, I’m jealous and I want what he has,” he uttered.
Although it was the first real conversation I’d ever had with him, he knew my husband and said he wanted me to know exactly how much my husband’s presence meant to him. He said he’d been noticing how much my husband smiles for years and he could tell it was real. He said he could also tell he wasn’t about charming others to get money or material things or the approval of men. And that made a big impact on him.
Eventually, we parted ways and I headed outside. As soon as I got in the car, I told my husband about the conversation and how much it meant to me. He said he had no idea that person felt that way, but that hearing about it humbled him in a way that only comes from knowing something bigger than ourselves was at work.
I’m not sure if that person gave a second thought to their words or the dialogue that came afterwards, but I couldn’t forget them. I mulled over all the things I said, the things I wish I would have said, and all I could have done to be a light for him as my husband had been.
I thought about how we live in a world filled with darkness and evils that could make anyone cynical, jaded, or merely frustrated with all that goes on. How there are people who feel unsafe, unloved, and unworthy everyday but hide their pain behind a wall of perceived perfection—because grinning and bearing it is the only way they know to survive. How so many want a life filled with hope and joy, but don’t know where to find it.
Then I thought about how light gives hope to anyone stumbling in darkness and how God in all his infinite wisdom knew that.
As the God of light, He showed his perfect love for us by sending a His Son to be the light of the world. Born and lain in a manger, Jesus came near to broken sinners like us so that we could follow him and walk in that light. The light that reveals truth. The light that guides. The light that works to banish darkness. Through Jesus, God gave grace and mercy, but he also gave hope.
This Advent season, I cling to that and treasure all that Jesus is like Mary after hearing the Shepherds tell her of all they heard he was destined to be. I also remember the legacy of it all— how he calls his disciples to be light as well.
So, as we remember the birth of Christ, let us also remember not to dim the light God gives his children. There are people are in dark places who need to see it.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)