A Dove In the Darkness

When I was a junior in high school, I received one of my all-time favorite Christmas gifts. I had always loved to take photographs with friends, but my interest was turning towards more artistic photography, particularly with black and white film. In these days when digital cameras were still something only the computer-savvy could afford and operate, the 35mm camera that I received was one of the best on the market. I took a summer course in photography, read Photography For Dummies, and invested most of my money earned from baby-sitting in the development of film that didn't always turn out as I hoped.

I continued to have fun with the camera, even as digital overtook the photography industry. Then I went through a very difficult period in my personal life that led me to put the camera on a shelf. It sat on that shelf for three years. I saw it everyday but decided that was part of my past that I needed to let lie--until I suddenly had a desire again to take photos with film. I wanted to experience again the feeling of waiting to see what would develop in the darkroom instead of the instantaneous output of my digital camera. I reached for the camera, brushed off the dust, and discovered to my surprise that a roll of film was already in the camera, half-used. What on earth could these pictures be? There was only one way to find out. I finished the roll and took it in for developing.

The photos were of an outing that I had taken during that tough time period, and I was amazed at how clearly they turned out so many years later. There was one shot in particular that made me stop and stare. It was a photo of barren trees and dead leaves. In the forefront of the photo was one leaf that stood out, and it was shaped like a dove. In the midst of the darkness and the deadness, there was life. What I saw was that even as I walked through a dark period in my personal life, God had been with me through it all. Just as images don't appear on film until exposed to the darkness of a dark room, God "develops" his light in us as we go through dark times.

During this Advent season, we celebrate that God is indeed with us--Emmanuel. He exposes our dark world to the light of Christ, and we are changed:
"For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the LORD will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you."
(Isaiah 60:2)

grace, peace, joy, and LIGHT to each of you--
Pastor Darian