Light of those whose dreary dwelling, Borders on the shades of death, Come, and by Thy love’s revealing, Dissipate the clouds beneath: The new heaven and earth’s Creator, In our deepest darkness rise, Scattering all the night of nature, Pouring eyesight on our eyes. ~ Still we wait for Thy appearing, Life and joy Thy beams impart, Chasing all our fears, and cheering, Every poor benighted heart: Come and manifest the favour, God hath for our ransom’d race; Come, Thou universal Saviour, Come, and bring the gospel grace. ~ Save us in Thy great compassion, O Thou mild pacific Prince, Give the knowledge of salvation, Give the pardon of our sins; By Thine all-restoring merit, Every burden’d soul release, Every weary, wandering spirit, Guide into Thy perfect peace. -Charles Wesley, #11, A Collection of Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord, 1744This hymn can be sung to the tune of Love Divine, All Loves Excelling. I’d never noticed it before, but absolutely love how Charles rests in death and darkness long enough to allow the light of Christ to burst forth powerfully. Too often we rush to the joy of the newborn King, not knowing what to do with our friends and family who find Christmas to be a dreary time of grief. As you approach the manger this Christmas, where the cosmic Christ is contained in a cradle, may you find the light that cannot be extinguished by the darkness. May the incarnation of God-in-the-flesh meet you in surprising ways, in the tears of pain over those we’ve lost, in the joy of silly presents exchanged with laughter, in the power of the Holy Spirit alive and at work in each soul you meet.