The Light And Hope Of Christmas For The Addict

Not feeling that Christmas spirit?

As the holiday season draws near, addicts—those who are still active in addiction as well as those who are in recovery—experience a range of feelings and emotions. There’s the anxiety of dealing with our dysfunctional families, the memories of former holiday-induced relapses and the pressure of endless preparations. Perhaps we still wobble between addiction and recovery, wavering back and forth between sobriety and slipping. Some of us have lost our jobs and families while others are experiencing poverty, sickness or a general sense that as we come to the end of another year, there isn’t much worth celebrating.

As the Christmas carols begin and the decorations go up, we’d rather avoid it all or drink our way through to Jan. 2. The days are colder and shorter and we feel a thick sense of darkness.

But it is into this darkness that Christ, the Light of the World, shines most brilliantly.

Faith is - The Light And Hope Of Christmas - Christian Drug RehabIn him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:4-5

The season of Advent is a season of darkness, waiting, anticipating and hoping. It is a season in which we experience the darkness while holding onto the hope of light.

For the addict, it can be especially hard to wait, to anticipate and to hope. We struggle with faith and putting our confidence in something we can’t see. We are people who live for the quick fix, the immediate gratification and the momentary high. To wait is to have to sit in the space of darkness, discomfort, craving and need. That feeling is so unbearable that we reach for anything that promises comfort, escape or oblivion.

But Advent and this time of waiting is a metaphor for the large-scale waiting, patience and hope that a life of faith in Christ requires. But we are promised that when we wait and trust in the darkness, we will see and know the light.

The Light Comes For You

And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:31-32

Jesus came into the world not to save the happy, healthy, wealthy ones who seem to exist in perpetual sunshine. He came into the darkness, to those who dwelt in darkness and pain, blindness and uncertainty. He came to encounter your darkness with a light that cannot be overcome.

As addicts, we often feel that we are somehow outside the bounds of God’s grace or that we somehow don’t qualify for Christ’s love and salvation. We often feel this as a result of our own shame and self-condemnation. We can’t imagine how God could possibly love us, and we can’t fathom why Christ would make such a sacrifice to save us and our lowly lives. Yet the Bible is clear that God’s love, grace and power are beyond anything we can imagine. And He is definitely for us.

Seeking Christ In The Darkness

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:12-14

Our God is the God of fresh starts and new beginnings. As Christmas draws near, seek God as you await the birth of Christ—the light coming into the darkness. Repent honestly before God. Then believe that in Christ you are forgiven.

Our frenzied, materialistic culture is busy making Christmas into a marketing ploy that plays on our every insecurity and desire. And for those of us who have taken some hard hits at the hand of addiction, it isn’t a time of year we exactly look forward to. But this isn’t the meaning of Christmas. While the holiday season can be a time of celebration, Christmas doesn’t mean extravagant gifts, endless food and alcohol or a sense that we’ve “arrived.” Remember, Christ came into the world not as a fancy, luxury-loving king, but as a humble child born in a barn.

Christ is close to the brokenhearted and the poor in spirit. He came to save, love and comfort people exactly like you. When you seek him, you will find him. His light was made for your darkness.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. John 1:9

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