This Christmas Eve, I was encouraged and reminded that we are not built to live this life alone. That it’s okay to not be strong enough on our own. And that we are here to help others live lives full of light.
Two experiences shed light on this truth that day – Chris Chandler’s SoulCycle Class and The Austin Stone’s Christmas Eve Service.
First things first, if you’re in Austin and you’ve never taken Chris Chandler’s SoulCycle Class before, I highly recommend! Chris is full of life, fun, and joy. He remembers names and makes every person feel so special in the room. But in his class on Monday, I felt a special, electric, contagious energy that left me inspired like never before.
He had us screaming, smiling, and singing as what felt like an instant family. We were yelling out “ho, ho, ho” as we would crank up our resistance, thus urging others in the room to scream out like Santa Clause and do the same. It was also someone’s birthday in the class and he worked the “runway” as we all clapped and smiled in joyful celebration to Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody. Throughout his class, you are constantly cheering on those around you, whether that be through a water-bottle cheers or a “ho, ho, ho.” In that hour, it was remarkable to recognize that we were all practically strangers, yet we all were helping each other grow stronger. I would not have challenged myself as much as I could have if Chris and those to my right and left didn’t cheer me on to do so. Alone, I would have done so little, but together, we all accomplished much.
In the evening, my parents and I attended Austin Stone’s Christmas Eve service. During the service, each individual was given a candle, and as we finished with our closing song, everyone lit their candle. Some had their candle lit by a volunteer with a lighter, but for most of us, it was only by someone else’s light that our candle was lit. And most of the time, again, this person was a stranger. Seeing this incredible contagion of candles being lit one by one by another person was an extraordinary moment.
For me, it was the humbling reminder that I can’t light my own candle. It was permission to scream out and say I can’t light my candle alone. I can’t push myself alone. I can’t get stronger on my own. Permission to admit in humble abandon that we need others. We need communities of people cheering us along and helping us grow and find the light inside us.
And the greatest news of all is that we were never supposed to be able to do it alone. We don’t have to be strong enough on our own. God has given us himself, Immanuel, God with us, always, as our source of light. He has also given us each other. He has given us each other to live this life with and to help us light each other’s candles. Whether a stranger or a best friend, in a cycling studio or a church, we all have the ability to help each other grow and be the light when others need it most. We just have to show up and recognize that the help is already there.
As I enter this new year of life, I’m more aware than ever of my need for others to help me grow stronger and ignite my joy. It’s okay to need help. It’s okay to accept the help others offer. It’s good to be in community and good to smile and sing. It’s good to help others grow stronger. And it’s good to know you don’t have to light your candle each day on your own.
Happy Almost 2019 and Merry Belated Christmas.
Also, it’s not lost on me that my post previous to this was entitled “darkness.” It’s no coincidence that God moves in such beautiful ways to display to us the light that emerges from the darkness.