Before and After

For some, it is the first Christmas since something changed in our lives. Tish Harrison Warren puts it well in her upcoming book, Prayer in the Night.

“There are particular events that divide our lives into before and after. There are seasons of deep darkness, failure, and loss that indelibly mark us.”

How our lives were before, is not how our lives are now. Here we are in the after part of a particular event and it’s Christmastime and we don’t know how to do it. It can feel a lot like stumbling around in the dark.

But we’re not alone. God is with us. He’s always with us.

And I will give you treasures hidden in the darkness—
    secret riches.
I will do this so you may know that I am the Lord,
    the God of Israel, the one who calls you by name.

Isaiah 45:3 NLT

We need not paper over our pain, or anyone else’s. We weep. But even as we weep, we watch for the One the Scriptures call ‘the God of all comfort.‘” -Tish Harrison Warren, Prayer in the Night

A Blessing for Traveling in the Dark

by Jan Richardson

Go slow
if you can.
More slowly still.
Friendly dark
or fearsome,
this is no place
to break your neck
by rushing,
by running,
by crashing into
what you cannot see.

Then again,
it is true:
different darks
have different tasks,
and if you
have arrived here unawares,
if you have come
in peril
or in pain,
this might be no place
you should dawdle.

I do not know
what these shadows
ask of you,
what they might hold
that means you good
or ill.
It is not for me
to reckon
whether you should linger
or you should leave.

But this is what
I can ask for you:

That in the darkness
there be a blessing.
That in the shadows
there be a welcome.
That in the night
you be encompassed
by the Love that knows
your name.

—(originally posted by Jan Richardson on her blog The Advent Door)

Photo by Tim Dennert on Unsplash

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