“Treasures of Darkness” illustration by Gary Gaede

Advent Day 14 – Saturday, December 15

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—not the result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8–9

My father died seven years ago. During his last week, we all became more aware that his time with us was drawing to an end. Why now? We were preparing for Christmas celebrations. Did he, nor God, not realize this was a crazy busy time of the year with special cards, presents, and invitations to prepare?

Christmas was Dad’s favorite time of the year. He had a great passion for giving and receiving gifts, singing carols, and the aroma of lutefisk. Having been an only child (then having six kids of his own), he often found it difficult to wait his turn to open his presents. All the attention would be on someone opening their present and suddenly we would hear, “Well, looky here at what I got.” Mom would appropriately scold him for not waiting his turn and the attention would return to the appropriate gift opener.

His death was not perfect timing. Why was it his “turn” to die during Christmas? I did not care to have my Christmas spirit and joy forever tarnished by the darkness of his death.

God’s timing often stops me in my tracks of controlling all of “my plans.” Dad’s time to die was bad timing for me, but a special invitation for him, a gift from God, out of my control. “Well, looky here at what I got.” The thought of him opening the greatest present now brightens my joy of Christmas more than any earthly present may ever again.

Heavenly Father, your timing does not always match our calendar of plans. Grant us the strength to see the light in our darkness. Help us to continue to find hope in your promise, as we await the greatest gift, that of eternal life in your kingdom. Amen.

—Susan Eichacker