There are three trees across the road from my house. In the spring they bloom like any other tree, into a lovely pale green, but then, as the leaves mature, they turn a dark burgundy. At times they look black. I don't like those trees. They make me think of horror movies and dark, unnatural things. I don't want to look at them because I don't want to be confronted with unpleasant things.
But the reality is that unpleasant things, even dark and evil things, populate our world. I was reminded of this today as I listened to a writer talk about his novel. I admire this man. He's a talented writer and the subject of his book is not a light topic. It's one that makes us shiver, one that makes us cringe. He spoke eloquently about how difficult it was to write the book, because it was personally painful for him. Yet he persevered because he believed the story had to be told.
He also said that he's been asked why the book doesn't emphasize the dark side of the topic more. He's been criticized for stopping too soon as the story exposed the evil. But he said "that wasn't all there was to the story - that's not what it's about. It's about redemption, reconciliation and healing. It's about the human capacity to reclaim ourselves."
As I listened to this man read from his book, I was moved not only by the beauty of the language but by the reality that the darkness will never win. Because it is in the darkness that the light shines bright. It is in the darkness that the light draws attention to itself. I've seen this firsthand in hospital corridors where the bravery of the human spirit shines forth. I've seen it in a jungle where fear and bondage are broken by the truth. I've seen it in the eyes of an abused child who comes to believe at last that she is loved by an almighty God.
So now I'm thankful for those dark trees across from my house. They are reminders that when life turns dark, when evil and chaos seems to be winning, the light will always reveal itself. God's truth will be made known and the nobility of the human spirit will shine through because it is made in God's image.
And I'm thankful that, as Carolyn Arends sings, "Love was here first." God's design was for beauty and order and harmony. All the brokenness that sin brought into the world so long ago cannot change that. Nor can it change the fact that love will triumph in the end. I'm thankful that I have seen the light of this love even though I've had to sometimes endure the darkness in order to understand the depth of it.
As we move into the Christmas season, let's remember - “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone and also has two devotional books in print. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. Marcia's second novel, A Tumbled Stone was recently short listed in the contemporary fiction category of The Word Awards. Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for writers can be downloaded here. Visit Marcia’s website