I spot clean our bathroom sometimes, overcome with the ability to tolerate the drips of coffee on the floor or the soap scum in the sink. Not during my regular cleaning schedule, more often than not, it is when I am heading to bed or have just woken up in the morning. When it is dark. Moonlight filtering in, a shadow no longer on this area but edged to that, I see the drip, the mess and grab a cleaning wipe stored just for this purpose. A hurried scrub, a half-hearted swipe, I go to bed or downstairs for coffee, my heart a bit lighter but not taking the time for a thorough cleaning. A little bit of light can be enough to see there is a problem, it takes real illumination to see those dirty corners and cobwebs and dropped q-tips. So it is with this season where our homes are filled with lights yet our souls may be aching for the Light.
My upstairs hallway is really dark at night, when spare bedroom doors are closed off to beasts. I often go back downstairs for a snack or more orange juice after I have gone to bed. Many nights see me wandering about the house at 3 a.m. The beasts keep removing the hall night light, something I don’t remember until I fly trip stumble careen along the hall, having missed that there right in front of me is a 100lb. dog sleeping soundly. My efforts to sneak about without disturbing anyone else fail as I crash into the wall, utter words best not repeated, splash my drink on the beast and floor. Simpler to turn on the overhead light, I forget this option EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Punishment doesn’t teach me, clearly. I remember to don my robe, I feel the chilled air. I don’t remember that I risk a great fall if I don’t allow light to guide me. A really easy fix, a flashlight bedside or even using my smartphone, I just don’t realize how dark it is, how little I can see until I am already in trouble. The light comes on when I am on the floor, in the crisis, but how many times could I have avoided the crisis, the spilled coffee on the bathroom floor, the extra messes to clean up if I just began with the Light?
During this season of lights we are invited to cherish the trees sparkling shining shimmering, reflecting in windows and snow covered yards. The lights may all come down in just a few days, leaving us in a darkness that endangers our walk. Just as I can choose to put a flashlight in my robe pocket, I can choose to accept the true Light of this season, of all seasons. It takes courage to flip the switch, to acknowledge those corners that need attention, the cobwebs that dangle, the areas that we avoid. Yet the glorious feel of a clean home is nothing compared to soul no longer burdened with the filth of secrets and hidden worries. Allowing the bountiful Light to truly shine on us, seep within us, generates a glow beyond the places we can see. This Christmas when we are offered the Light, I pray we all accept Him not just for the night but rather allow our lights to illuminate all year long. How clean and safe would our world be if we stopped walking in the darkness? Light on our brokenness, our dirty secrets, our shameful pasts and messy bathrooms, returning grace, healing, acceptance. True radiance. May my light shine enough to reach you, may I see yours as well.