The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
Has feeling down and hopelessness ever been a problem for you? Might you even have those feelings now, at the end of the holiday season? Such feelings are common for many, but especially for writers. According to an article in the Guardian, “Writing is one of the top 10 professions in which people are most likely to suffer from depression.”
Christmas is a time when I’ve often had to deal with loneliness and the depression that goes with it. Unrealized expectations are a problem. I want Christmas to be perfect, and when it isn’t, depression hits. Does that sound familiar?
Other times I’ve felt down after the Christmas decorations are put away. My home becomes lack-luster and bare. Boring. On top of that, after focusing for such a long time on the holidays, it seems like there’s nothing interesting left to look forward to. I wonder what I should do next. I feel stuck and hopeless.
But think about it. Have we been missing something? Did all the traditions of Christmas—decorating, buying gifts, sending cards, baking and socializing—allow us the time and space we needed to think about what’s really important, the presence of Christ in our lives? Did we have sufficient opportunity to focus on Him and experience the light He can bring into our darkness? Or were we too consumed with other things?
Today, after all the busyness is past and quieter days are arriving, we have the opportunity to focus on what we might have missed. We have the opportunity to fully appreciate what we have been celebrating. We have more time and energy to write, freshly imbued with inspiration.
Christmas may be past but Jesus, the light of the world, is with us. He helps us find our way, shedding light on the darkness so many of us live under. Our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace is born. This message is not only for Christmas. It is for all year long—for all time. This is the message we need to hear and allow to be a part of us.
The most significant part of this is that Jesus and His light are available to all who have a longing for His deep unfailing love. This kind of love is not available in the world. Only Jesus offers it. His love carries with it a light that will help us escape the darkness and look beyond today. And a big part of the Good News is that we can turn around and shine this light on those around us. Isn’t it exciting to consider that we could spread Christ’s love and hope through our writings?
I often ask God to fill me with His love—with His light—to help me share it with those whose lives I touch. I want to reveal God’s love to those I write for. Isn’t that the best reason of all for followers of Christ to write?
How can we be part of the Christmas story, showing to others that Christ’s light has dawned? How can we help Jesus shine His light on earth? We each have the ability to make a difference, whether it’s in a small way or big way. No matter how big or small our gifts, God counts them equally important.
What a wonderful freedom we have today! With God’s help we can make this time beyond Christmas as colourful as the holidays were. It’s a different kind of colourful, but better in so many ways. Instead of decorations, we might have within us an anticipation to make new projects take shape. After all, God made us to be creative. As we shine Christ’s light and share His love, we have within us the ability to make the world a better place. The pen He has put in our hands could be a powerful tool. Are you ready—with God’s help—to accept the challenge to make it that?
Do you see God’s light now? Is it starting to push away the darkness? If not, take heart. Even when darkness has not yet turned to day, there’s hope. There’s always hope. Christ’s light shines in the midst of it. Focus on Jesus and the great unconditional love He has for you and ask Him to fill you with it. Thank Him for it. Jesus is waiting for you.
Marja Bergen is an author, mental health activist, and follower of Christ. In 1999 Marja’s book _Riding the Roller Coaster _was published, the beginning of her efforts to reduce the stigma held towards those living with mental health problems. This was followed in 2008 by her second book, A Firm Place to Stand, which shows fellow Christians that anyone can have a mental illness, even with a close relationship to Jesus Christ. Marja’s third book, Reflections for Our Highs and Lows, a beautiful collection of devotions and photographs, was published earlier this year.
Learn more about Marja and her books at marjabergen.com