(My post on Abortion has been moved to a new essays page, available here. The light that shines in darkness was written at the same time but I neglected to publish it. It is dated to reflect my original publishing intent.)
Early last week my husband introduced the Book of John to our kids. He talked about how Jesus has many different titles including “the word.” I built on this foundation later in the week when we talked about Christ being “the light that shines in darkness” (John 1:5, 9, NT).
We were gathered in the kitchen for dinner when I decided to share the scripture and talk about how Jesus is “the true light.” I had already turned off most of the lights in that part of the house and it was dark outside. I recapped my husband’s lesson from a few days before to ready their minds. All of the girls screamed and the baby started to cry when I turned off the rest of the lights! It was pitch dark. I talked to the kids about light and it’s importance to our lives. They told me how difficult it was to see or do anything in the darkness.
Then I twisted the bulb on one of my window candles; the light was small but it penetrated the darkness. We talked about how Christ’s light shines in the darkness, how that light can spread from one person to those around them. I turned on more lights as I talked.
This visual created a memorable experience for my kids to which we referred in subsequent days. It also sparked my memory as I mourned the loss of a dear but geographically distant friend last week.
Ten years ago this month I found myself in a really dark point in my life. My environment was dark and cold (winter in Northern Europe), I felt alone and isolated, I was still experiencing some culture shock, and I was very, very unhappy. I walked into a mid-week Ward Council meeting for my new ward and saw her. Jenn was nursing her baby, an American in a foreign land, speaking her second language beautifully and contributing to this council meeting. A light sparked in my life. I came to admire Jenn for the goodness and light she exuded. Her delightful family, her spirit-filled household, her model discipleship filled me with hope for my own future. The light of Christ shone out of her and provided warmth as well as an objective for my lonely path. There was light even in the midst of my dark night.
The light that Jenn provided for me shone out from her quiet but compelling belief in Jesus Christ. Her discipleship continues to inspire me and impel me to share that same light with others.