The stars always remind me of God’s goodness. One of my favorite things to do is to step outside on a clear night, breathe in the stillness and look up into the sky. The way the stars sparkle against the canvas of night reminds me of who I am and of who God is. It makes me feel small. Yet I am overwhelmed when I realize that God, who crafted and named each star, created me and knows me.
Something has always particularly intrigued me about the stars. Have you ever noticed that some of the most stunning, bright and beautiful star-filled skies are on the coldest winter nights?
The stars shine against the black canvas of night. They appear brightest in the bleakness of winter. The stars remind me of brightness and hope in a dark and broken world.
Authenticity has become a very popular concept among my generation. It has seeped its way into our culture and into our churches.
Authenticity invites us to be vulnerable. It asks us to open up, to remove our masks. It asks us to be honest and to share our lives. It asks that we take a step away from our disguises, our filters and fake smiles.
Our superficial world needs this step back toward reality. We need tears and vulnerability. We need messy houses and dirty dishes. We need to open our eyes to pain, betrayal and depression. We need to open up our hearts and let others into our brokenness. We need to understand how desperately we need God, how truly amazing His grace is. Authenticity is a good thing.
But I think we have to understand that authenticity doesn’t always mean tears. It doesn’t always mean pain. It doesn’t always mean brokenness. Authenticity is opening our eyes to the darkness of the world, but also to the glory of heaven. As we enter into the world’s brokenness, we can’t forget our hope in Christ.
I’m not blind to the world around me. I see the tragedy, the anger and the evil in this world. I see the injustice. I see the pain. It breaks my heart.
But I also see the stars. In this dark world, I see the bright little reminders of hope and beauty. I see the sunsets, ocean, mountains, snow and sunshine. I see the beauty of love, laughter and joy.
In our journey to authenticity, we must not forget the stars. Joy is not a sin. Happiness is not a sin. Love is not a sin. Laughter is not a sin. They are gifts, good gifts, given from God in the midst of the darkness around us. They are stars in this hopeless world. Even when the darkness of the world around us overwhelms us, when the pain is beyond what we can bear, we still have hope. We can still choose joy through Jesus.
As Christians, we have to look at the cross and remember the pain, but we also have to see the victory. In the midst of our solemn worship, we need to remember that there is joy found in knowing Christ. Yes, there is a time for solemnity, for repentance, for mourning and for tears. I think there is an appropriate time for quiet and repentant worship, but I have been in far too many worship services that have left me feeling hopeless. We have to remember the joy of our salvation and the promise of knowing Christ reigns.
There is a time for laughter, for joy and for celebration. We can rejoice because we have hope in the promise of knowing Jesus. Let’s not feel guilty for being happy in the midst of our dark world—let’s choose joy. We can’t deny the darkness around us, but the only way to combat darkness is with God’s true light. Sometimes the best thing we can do is choose to worship and rejoice in the hope we have in God, even when we don’t feel like it. Let’s be authentic and lose our superficial happiness. Let’s find true joy in Christ.
Authenticity is looking up at the night sky and never denying the reality of the darkness of night and of the bitter cold around us, but also seeing the sparkling stars and truly believing their quiet reminder of joy, laughter and hope.
Read Emma’s personal blog at becomingemma.com.