I love the light of winter where I live. The stars on a cold night glow with extra brilliance in the clear, dark sky.

After several cloudy days, the weather began to change in late afternoon. I went for a walk around the neighborhood at sunset. The departing light sent rays of beautiful yellow and gold onto a sky of blush pink with a hint of the blue that had been missing all day. Such beauty after a dull, gray day.

The next morning I woke in the dark but, by the time I looked out the window, the light was just beginning. The dark is no longer dark, even though I can’t see sunlight. There is a brightness at the horizon, moving into the darkness, creating colors I can’t describe. I hold my breath in awe.   Only a fleeting moment and they are gone as the light of day begins.

The darkness of night or the drabness of gray days seems to attune my eyes and my heart to receive the gifts of light on a clear or clearing day. I wonder if we need to be aware of darkness in our lives or in our world in order to notice the light and be moved by it.


Where have you experienced light shining out of darkness?

What brings you awe?


Looking back over the past 24 hours or week or year, see where you have experienced the light shining. Give thanks for those gifts.

For further reflection:

“Praise the Lord! … Praise him, sun and moon; praise him all you shining stars!” (See Psalm 148.)

“In the beginning . . . the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep….And God said, ‘Let there be light’ . . . (See Genesis 1: 1-4).

Living with Joy

Today is a beautiful, bright, sunny day. The air is crisp and cool, and the light and shadows dancing amidst the green leaves dazzle my eyes. The birds are in and out consuming the birdseed in my birdfeeder—including a brown-headed nuthatch. This day could go by, one more day in a lifetime, or it can be an opportunity for joy. I can stop and soak up the beauty of what I can see—and be in the presence of the Creator. I can take in the gift and let it run through my veins, energizing my soul and filling me with joy.

Another day I was with people who, because we felt safe in the group, dared to express their discomfort with the word faith and to ask questions. We had a wonderful conversation. It became a joyful moment of transformation. Later that day I took my car into the shop for routine maintenance. The joy came there when two service people helped me finally learn how to get spoken directions in the car to assist me in finding my destination when I travel.

Our days are often so full that what happens in the day becomes a blur and disappears into history. But to stop and look back over the day, remembering the sweet moments and the gifts that came amidst everything else, is to frame the day with joy and possibility and to give thanks and praise to the Giver of all good gifts.

My sister is a quilter. She loves to include lots of different, beautiful, and interesting fabrics. Sometimes I get to help her pick out the fabrics for the quilt. I get such pleasure out of looking at the fabrics, trying to find one that meets her needs, and then getting to let her take all the responsibility of making the selection. Later in the quilting process I help choose what fabric goes where. Each of us is being creative. When we co-create with God, joy is there.

Living with joy, when there is much that is terrible and sad, is important. It is not putting one’s head in the sand or playing pretend. It makes space and creates energy for God’s presence and action in the world. For the Christian it proclaims resurrection good news, that with God there is always hope and new life.


What gives you joy? What helps you take time to experience joy?

What place do you see for joy in the midst of the tragic events and situations in our world?


“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless God’s holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all God’s benefits.” (Psalm 103: 1-2)

For further reflection:

“You set the earth on its foundations, so that it shall never be shaken. You cover it with the deep as with a garment.” (Read Psalm 104)

“A woman . . . began to bathe [Jesus’] feet with her tears. . . (See Luke 7: 36-50).