The Bright Side: Good tidings
Published 7:29 am Sunday, December 25, 2022
This time of year always brings a mix of overwhelming joy and a bout of uneasiness for me. While everyone readies themselves for the holidays, there is so much excitement in the air because Christmas means time off, gifts, treasured moments with loved ones and (hopefully) lots and lots of cookies. However, I have always carried a small sense of fear when the holidays approach. Call me crazy, but I’ve grown accustomed to things going wrong right when everything and everyone seems to be at all-time high.
When I was little, my parents took my younger sister and I over to see my dad’s father and step-mom right before Christmas. This would be one of the very last times I would ever see my grandfather, unbeknownst to me. While we were all sitting in the living room, my sister, who was around 3-years-old at the time, accidentally knocked over this beautiful glass snow globe that was resting on the dark wooden coffee table. It cracked, and all of the contents of the snow globe spilled out onto the table and the carpet. We left shortly after because my father’s step-mom was not at all pleased with the fact her Christmas decoration was now destroyed.
I carried that memory with me for a very long time, even though I was so young and wasn’t even the one to have caused such a fuss. I held onto it so much so that when Christmas would approach every year, I would do everything I could possibly could to make it perfect, to make sure those I was spending it with would be happy. I never wanted to see something shatter, literally and figuratively, around the most wonderful time of year ever again.
Last year, right after Thanksgiving, I found out my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Christmas was more somber than any year prior, with the weight of the word “cancer” hanging over our heads and leading us all to fear the worst. My nightmare seemed to have evolved right in front of my face and there was nothing I could do about it. It stung, and it was hard to enjoy the love, peace and joy that floats through our hearts during the holidays.
Thanks be to God, my mother recovered earlier this year and her last mammogram came back clean. We were so relieved! We were out of the woods, or so we thought.
The weekend following Thanksgiving this year I got a call from my mom that my dad was in the hospital. I won’t go into many details, but I will say acute kidney failure is one of the last things you ever want to hear a doctor say. He’s out of the hospital now and on the up and up, but there’s a long road ahead. Needless to say, this time of year hasn’t always been the easiest on me or my family.
So, what is the bright side of all of this? I’ve pondered the tactics of the devil over and over in my head and I will tell you that darkness falls when the world may be at its lightest.
“Good tidings of great joy” were the angel’s words to the shepherds about the coming of Jesus Christ. From what the Bible tells us, the shepherds were overcome with terror at the sight of the angel and the glory of the Lord around them, written in the Gospel of Luke. The shepherds were accustomed to tending to their flock at night, in the quietness, stillness and darkness of evening. The brilliance, beauty and majesty of this interaction would have surely scared them.
But rather than being frightened, the angel comforts the shepherds and tells them not to be afraid. The angel did not mean to scare the shepherds, but had great news to tell the shepherds. This good news was going to bring great joy to all people in the world.
Despite the darkness that has fell upon myself, my family and many others this time of year, there is still so much light to see. I see donations filling boxes for children in need this time of year. I watch other shoppers purchase gifts that they know will fill their loved ones with joy. I see brilliant lights illuminate my street and so many others, of all different colors and varieties. There is so much hope that surrounds me, and I am reminded on a daily basis that that hope lives on because of the Savior that was born. And that alone gives me hope, despite how scared and unsure I am of what may come.
As Christmas falls upon us, I pray that everyone receives the blessings they deserve and the wishes they hold close to their hearts are fulfilled to the fullest. I challenge everyone to look for the light despite how dark it gets. Carry hope in your heart, seek joy in all things and most importantly, never forget why we are able to celebrate such a sacred, special holiday. We received the brightest light the world has ever seen on Christmas Day. That’s something worth seeing past the fear for.
Danielle Puleo is a staff writer for The Coastland Times. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.