“On every world, wherever people are, in the deepest part of the winter, at the exact midpoint, everybody stops and turns and hugs. As if to say, ‘Well done. Well done, everyone! We’re halfway out of the dark.’ Back on earth we call this Christmas.”
The “Doctor Who” episode “A Christmas Carol” was the first episode of the series I ever watched, and it remains one of my favorites, as well as the episode I’ve rewatched the most. This quote from that episode always stuck in my head as a fun way of looking at the holiday. But this year, the words feel like a lifeline.
Christmas in 2020 certainly feels halfway out of the dark. It’s been a dark year — full of tragedy, conflict, complexity, hatred, anger, anxiety, and pain. We’re all ready for 2020 to be over. But here at the end, we’re also hanging on to Christmas, the last chance for something good to come out of this disaster of a year, a time to try for a little bit of healing and redemption.
And we know that we’re not out of the dark yet. Even with a new year coming, everything we’ve fought through won’t disappear with just a change in the calendar. However, we’re finally starting to see glimmers of the light we’re moving toward.
Progress is being made. Changes are happening. Answers are being found and solutions are being fought for. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and we’re not there yet, but we seem to be heading in the right direction.
The “first Christmas,” the birth of a baby that the holiday commemorates, was also a halfway out of the dark occasion. The “weary world” had been “in sin and error pining” for so long, then “He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.” And that appearance was the breaking of a “new and glorious morn.” (Seriously, go give “Oh Holy Night” another listen, and think about the words.)
By the mercy of God, the Dayspring was born (Luke 1:78), and “the people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, and those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned” (Matthew 4:16 NASB). When the Light of the world came in the flesh, it was to bring that world out of the dark.
We’re all still living halfway out of the dark. We know that this world is still full of darkness, hatred, and evil. All we have to do this year is look around to see it. But we can also look around and see evidence of the light, the love, the goodness. And we’re moving towards and looking forward to the day when the darkness is finally, fully defeated, when all things are made new, and we live in the light.
So as we reach the midpoint of winter and the end of a long, hard year, let’s take a moment to stop, and turn, and congratulate each other. Maybe we still shouldn’t physically hug, but let’s embrace each other with kindness and empathy and joy.
Christmas reminds us that there is light, and there is hope, and that even in the darkness, we have to keep moving toward the light.
So, well done, everyone. We’re halfway out of the dark.
Hannah Romero is the digital media manager at the Rocket-Miner. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.