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Light in the Darkness


Mental illness has been part of my world all of my life. There is a unique darkness that comes with diseases of the mind, an inside-out darkness. But I have learned to light a candle. I have learned to let others light the candle when I cannot. I have learned that even when I sit in darkness and the wick has burned to nothing, God is still the flame.

Christmas is not joy and cheer and ‘goodness to all’ for everyone. For some, it is a time when the darkness seems to seep into their bones and their deepest sorrows are highlighted by the celebrations all around them. There is nothing so despairing as being alone in a crowd or feeling dead in the midst of life. But the Son of Man knows this too.

He came in the darkness, in the cold, in the midst of suffering and rejection and longing and lack. He came messy into our world. He came helpless. He came to show us what light in the darkness really looks like.

Sometimes I cannot see. Sometimes I do not open my eyes. Sometimes I don’t know how to believe.

He comes still.

He whispers, “I AM.”

I don’t light the candle of God; the flame burns within me because He is Light itself.

Is there any place I can go to avoid Your Spirit?
to be out of Your sight?
If I climb to the sky, You’re there!
If I go underground, You’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings
to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
You’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, He even sees me in the dark!
At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to You;
night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to You.
Psalm 139:7-12 (The Message)

I used to be afraid of the dark, afraid it would last forever, afraid I would pass it on to my children, infect the neighbourhood, be eaten alive inside and out by fear and grief and longing. Sometimes, I’m still afraid of the dark. But then I light the wick and I remember I am only the candle -- the wax itself is changed by the light, absorbed by the flame. And it becomes something beautiful as it burns.

It reminds me that there is no darkness in God and Light always shines.
The Word was first,
the Word present to God,
God present to the Word.
The Word was God,
in readiness for God from day one.

Everything was created through Him;
nothing—not one thing!—
came into being without Him.
What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn’t put it out.
John 1:1-5 (The Message)


(Angela Cragg)