The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5
…Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till he appeared and the soul felt its worth. From “O Holy Night”

Light has always made me happy. My family and close friends know well that I love my lamps on a rainy day, and the first thing I do every morning is open the blinds, the shutters, and the drapes to let the light in. Darkness feels strange and heavy and unnatural to me. It is usually Charles’ last duty of the night to put our Corgis, “Dutch” and “Thurber,” to bed before he tucks himself in. He often says good-naturedly, “I would have been here sooner, but I had to turn off all 40 of your lamps.”

I am also a homebody and prefer home to any place on earth. I used to tell people that I started this magazine in order to stay home, wear my pajamas, and talk to the dog all day. That was only a slight exaggeration.

The thought occurs to me that it is my soul, the part of me that bears the imprint of our Heavenly Father, which is inexplicably drawn to the light and to home. And just maybe I am drawn to those two things because they offer a faint reminder that my true and eternal home is in a place of indescribable light, beauty, and happiness. The best is indeed to come.

I do not remember in my lifetime ever being more aware of the darkness of the fallen world than right now in 2014. It seems up is down, light is dark, wrong is right, and foolishness is called wisdom by many who have a microphone!

But Christmas, unchanging and unapologetic, arrives reminding us that the darkness is all smoke and mirrors. It will never eclipse the true Light of the World. And so we Believers can sing our carols, celebrate the Savior, and wish each other “Merry Christmas.” No circumstance on earth can erase or destroy the Truth that is Christ, or our inheritance as His children.

I am quite a die-hard traditionalist who never gets enough of the old familiar carols and hymns. “Jingle Bell Rock” has just never quite done it for me. Give me “Away in a Manger,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” or “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” “O Holy Night” is my favorite of all.

We don’t use quaint old words like “pining” anymore, but maybe we should. “Sin” and “pining”—together they capture the human experience of brokenness and our hearts’ restless longing the world never has and never will quite satisfy.

Christmas offers the clear message that pierces all the darkness and gives us reason to sing. “He appeared…and the soul felt its worth…” Stunning.

It is our hope that this December issue will stir your soul to embrace the Savior and to go much deeper than the shopping, the parties, and the artificial version of the modern “holiday season.” It takes some intentional thought and planning on your part, but you will find a heaping helping of ideas in these pages.

2014 has been a year of loss for many. It is hard to get past the “first” Christmas, the “first” birthday, the “first” of all the “firsts” when you’ve lost someone you love, or lost something else that rocked your world. Although this fleeting earthly life holds lots of joy and laughter, it can dole out a whopping dose of pain at times. And for that reason, Jesus reminds us in the middle of the Christmas message that it is because of this world’s brokenness He came. Joy to the World.

Celebrate Jesus this year. Merry Christmas.

Marilyn H. Tinnin, Publisher and Editor