Notes from Jan

Of Broken Lights

December 10, 2020

Recent winds shook the house, removed some shingles, rearranged a chair on my deck, separated a swag of evergreens from its red bow and toppled the lamppost in front of our condo. While nature blustered, I grabbed a flashlight, in case of a power outage. Then clutched some tissues as I continued to watch a Hallmark movie. These are desperate times so I’ve relaxed my standards and gone for almost anything with a happy ending.

Actually, it was my neighbor, Beth, who notified me about our lamppost. It lay on its side, uprooted like a felled tree, which it once was. The glass panes of the lantern shattered. Still, the bulb functioned, protected by the metal framework. An odd sight, to be sure, one flattened post with its light still shining amid the debris.

Well, it doesn’t take much of a leap for me to personalize that old broken lamppost. It’s me, some days, but without the functioning bulb. To watch the news or read the newspaper is to learn there’s a lot that’s broken out there. But there are also examples of light shining amid the debris. You may be one of God’s best stories.

Minda’s one. Every morning but one during this December I’ve read her words in Forward Day by Day. She’s an artist, author and advocate. Minda also has no arms or legs, but, from her motorized wheelchair radiates light to help us find our way to Bethlehem. Broken, to some. But as Philip Yancey reminds us,”Imperfection is the prerequisite for grace. Light only gets in through the cracks.”

And from that I take hope as I wait during Advent. God knows and welcomes us to Bethlehem in our UGG boots, sandals, stiletto heels, wheelchairs, or filthy calloused bare feet.

Beggars all, hobbling towards home on the flattened posts of our lives, oblivious to the Light shining out of our brokenness, helping others find their way to the heart and hope of the world in a Bethlehem barn.


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  • Reply Dan Russ December 10, 2020 at 8:25 pm

    What a splendid image of His light shining in the storms of our lives and one we need as this dark year and this dark season cry out for the light of the world and the desire of the nations. In the meantime, Hallmark is a good option.

  • Reply Maggie Rowe December 10, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    Jan, I am teaching our adult SS class via Zoom this Sunday and plan to share some of your thoughts. That is, once I get past laughing at this line:”It’s me, some days, but without the functioning bulb. ” I often. feel like my wit has dimmed – ahem – so I love this image!

  • Reply Dale December 11, 2020 at 9:43 am

    The command is simple, but humbling: Let your light shine. Sometimes, I feel like a 40 watt bulb in a world that needs 500 watts. Thanks for your encouragement.

    Blessings, Dale

  • Reply Radina Welton December 11, 2020 at 2:34 pm

    From a fellow hobbling beggar in sneakers, please enjoy the light coming through the cracks all around us and have a blessed Christmas as well as a brighter new year!
    We are the “moons” for God in this dark time, reflecting the Son, Light of the World, to our neighbors all around us. Thank you for your faithful reflection, always bright to me.

  • Reply Marianne Cannon December 11, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    Ah, Minda…I have been touched by her story too; and then there comes a day she writes of her sister Becca. Imagine the depth of their mother’s love and compassion.
    You and I and all the Mindas and Beccas of the world are holding on to each other’s faith as we struggle toward Bethlehem this Advent Season.
    Yes, my friend,…Jesus.
    Love, M.

  • Reply Wendy Lane December 30, 2020 at 8:52 am

    I loved this post, and loved reading all these comments. Christmas was different for sure this year, but Jesus is the same – yesterday, today and forever! So thankful for the light His people shine in my life – especially you dear Jan. <3

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