What I Saw When the Light Went Out


Advent: a time of waiting for the arrival of the Christ Child, the Light of the world. We decorate our world with lights that brighten the darkest time of year...

Last month, on “a dark and stormy night” after spending a planned day with a friend, I drove home through rain, ice and snow. It was a relief when I finally pulled the car into our garage. My thoughts were already focused on the next day and what needed to be done.

As the storm progressed, we learned of power outages around our county, but we were fine. Then, between midnight and 6:00 AM, our power went off and on seven times; I know because I could not sleep. I could hear large branches snap and then crash to the ground all around us. We were safe with our power, heat, water, internet and TV intact…. until 5:00 PM that day. A crack, a bright blue flash and the house went dark.

When the lights went out, light took on a new meaning for me.

The power line leading to our house was severed by an oak branch that had given way to the weight of heavy snow. Ours was the only house affected and there were “hot wires” lying coiled on our road in front of our house. It was total darkness and immediately disorienting. No, I did not ask, “Why me, Lord?” but I admit that it annoyed me to look out our windows and see lights on in the nearby neighbors’ houses…” Why not them, Lord?” Ok, I know that’s wrong, but the thoughts were not in vain.

First questions: Where are the flashlights, candles and matches?  Are the cell phones charged? How do we keep cars from driving on the active power lines? Is this the time to press that “Emergency” button on my cell phone? How long will this last?  Who moved the sofa?  I had no idea that the darkness could be so dark! Owning a generator meant we were somewhat prepared.

Bad news: the power outage lasted for five days... with no Internet or TV.

Good news: when the lights went out, light took on a new meaning for me.

That bright blue flash when the branch severed our power line reminded me of the bright light that the shepherds might have experienced on that first Christmas night. The King James version of Luke 2: 9 -10a is, and they were sore afraid. Does that mean that the fear was painful? It does affect your heart and mind when something out of the ordinary happens.

In verse 10, we read of the angels’ response to their fear: Do not be afraid. Just as we were somewhat prepared for a frightening power outage, God, through the Prophets, prepared the way for Christ’s arrival with the details of genealogy, birthplace and the Virgin Birth - all foretold in the Old Testament.

When I lit one candle...one...it brought relief...not totally dark any more. Then, more candles and flashlights.  I later thought about how words from God found in Scripture bring relief, comfort and hope. Your word is a lamp to my feet. Psalm 119:105 How many times has Scripture brought direction and hope much as those candles did in our physical darkness? The angels brought hope to the Shepherds with words in Luke 2:10 - 11:

Advent: “Let every heart prepare Him room”

I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ, the Lord.

Jesus’ Birth fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 9:2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. I thought about envying my neighbors’ lights and wishing I could have that power. Is this what it is like to not have any hope of Salvation, of not knowing the Good News of Jesus?

Am I aware that there might be somebody in my life who is living in a terrifying darkness and wondering why they don’t have what I have in Christ? How awful to live so close to Light and not know that this Light is for everyone.

(John 1:4 - 5;9 -10) In him (Jesus) was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.

And, then there is the star that the Magi followed to find the Messiah, the king of the Jews. Matthew 2:2 Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.

A star, a guide, a way to the Messiah. We have the Holy Spirit to guide us to the Christ...the Way to the Father.

 In my physical darkness, I was shown a fresh desire for God’s Light for me. In a way, I have a renewed “holy fear” of not praying for those around me who need the Light of Jesus. It has given me a thirst to pray very specifically for those living in the darkness of this world.

Advent: “Let every heart prepare Him room”.

Oh Father, thank You for Jesus. I want Your Light to shine in me so that others will know of Your Mercy and Grace. And, please bless anyone who reads these words...that it will be a kind of star pointing to You.

Blessed, Light-filled Advent.

Kay served as Director of Women's Ministry in Wexford, first as a volunteer and then on Staff from 2006 to 2018. She now leads the Women’s Ministry at the Butler County campus which she started in the Spring of 2018.

Her joy in ministry is in hearing women talk about their spiritual growth or newfound faith in Jesus, whether through a weekend message and Life Group experience or in a women's Bible study, a special event, in a mentoring relationship or at a women's retreat.

She and her husband Matt, their two sons, two daughters-in-law and five grandchildren live in Butler.