I live in the northwestern half of Washington State in a land of tall trees and cold seas where, for a few weeks a year, I feel dangerously close to slipping into a darkness-filled slump. With the addition of low-slung clouds and the threat of rain, the days feel deceptively short and the nights uncomfortably long. It’s during this soon-to-be-winter season that I seek out the light. I am drawn to it like the Amazon-sized moths I once saw clinging to a porchlight in the deep woods of Michigan.
I don’t think I am alone in this. At a time when it only takes one dose of the evening news to make us believe we are drowning in darkness, it’s no wonder we crave the light. Stepping into the light can feel like a deep, cleansing breath followed by a slow, easy exhale with the assurance that somehow everything will be okay.
Encounters with light can also leave us with a deep and profound sense of awe. I once heard a yoga teacher say that awe is amplified gratitude. It is the great mystery one feels while sitting in stillness and focusing on the heart.
On a recent trip to Buchart Gardens in Victoria B.C., Jon and I stood elbow to elbow in the freezing night air with thousands of strangers purely for the privilege of watching someone turn on Christmas lights. Later, as we walked through acres upon acres of colorful twinkling lights, I heard those around us speak of the beauty with a sense of awe.
Still others will relate to Clark Griswold in the now infamous movie, Christmas Vacation, as he works tirelessly in the dark while overcoming disaster after disaster as he hangs Christmas lights on his family home. In the end, we discover that his deepest desire was to see the look of awe and wonder on the faces of his family.
In this season of Advent, I hope you seek out the light—a star-filled sky, the embrace of a loved one, the smile of a stranger, or an opportunity to show love to the unloved.
Be the light this world so desperately seeks.
Merry Christmas to you,
Kristin Jarvis Adams is a public speaker and advocate for children with special needs, helping to bridge the gap between the outside world and the inner world of autism. Her speaking engagements have included: Seattle Festival of Trees Gala, a benefit for Seattle Children’s Hospital and The Seattle Children’s Autism Clinic. Learn More>>