IMG_3334Light of lights! All gloom dispelling, Thou didst come to make they dwelling Here within our world of sight. Lord, in pity and in power, Thou didst in our darkest hour Rend the clouds and show thy light.
Praise to thee in earth and heaven Now and evermore be given, Christ, who art our sun and shield. Lord, for us thy life thou gavest, Those who trust in thee thou savest, All thy mercy stands revealed.   -St. Thomas Aquinas, 13th Century

During this time of year, I find Christmas lights irresistible.  Darkness changes when bare tree limbs and trunks become twinkling nighttime sculptures. I hope to always marvel when I view a display of lights in a yard or the annual simplicity of lights on a Christmas tree.

There is value in light when darkness is experienced. As a counselor and art therapist these past 4 ½ years, I have walked alongside those in dark places. My concept of authenticity has been challenged and transformed in a career that requires stepping into life with others on a level that is sacred, vulnerable, and not easy to navigate. Whether in the psychiatric hospital, the Alzheimer’s center, or the pediatric units for children with cancer—I have seen life sustained and I have seen life quietly pass; I have witnessed the depression, the confusion, the psychosis, the anxiety, the horror. I have tasted this darkness and I know that life is not as it should be.Yet, I knowthe reality of darkness is not the end story; there is hope.

In contrast to darkness, I have come to know light as an enchanting warmth—like when the sun fractures through the cold air to shine on your bare face.Specifically, I have come to equate the theme of light with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am obviously not the first to do this: “I [Jesus] am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”-John 8:12.After battling with my own dark season last winter and spring, moments of light and embers of hope and healing that stick in my mind most are those when I was uplifted by community. It was community who spoke truth and dignity into my life. It is a treasure to have a host of friends who walk in faith alongside me—both acknowledging the reality of Christ as King on this Earth, and Christ as a loving life-giver of our very own souls.

2012 has been a year of letting things go…and letting new things grow—one of those being the beginning of what is now Art Stories Studio (www.artstoriesstudio.com), a private practice for counseling and art therapy services. With 2013 approaching, I am encouraged to hope in the presence of doubt, to press on in the presence of insecurities. Please join with me this year in praying for Art Stories Studio and the lives of those who will be counseled through it.

I hope you each find yourself surrounded by community this Christmas season! Much light, hope and love to you!

Love,

Sarah Margaret Wade (SMarge)

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