Advent Reflection: Light in the Darkness

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We are no strangers to darkness. Sometimes it feels like the closer we get to Christmas, the more vivid the pain around us becomes—as if the world is ripped open and its wounds are bared for all to see. Maybe this is especially true this Advent, this week, as we find ourselves trying to process one more mass shooting, one more night when refugees won’t have a safe place to lay their heads, one more day when terrorist groups seem to have all of the power. 

 

Even past losses feel more tangible, more raw during Advent. 

In a season when we are meant to celebrate light, somehow we can’t help but notice more poignantly the darkness the light disturbs.  Darkness can be oppressive, and it can breed fear.  But if we ignore it, hoping it will go away, we only let it grow. 

If we, instead, look into the darkness, acknowledging its presence and its pain, it somehow starts to hold less power. 

But nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight—
Got to kick at the darkness ‘til it bleeds daylight
When you’re lovers in a dangerous time
— Bruce Cockburn

How might we “kick against the darkness?”  How might we be light bearers, shattering darkness around us?  Who do you know who is doing this, refusing to believe that darkness wins?  

Because it doesn't.  

 Photo Credit: Grzegorz Mleczek

Photo Credit: Grzegorz Mleczek

There are some days, though, some seasons, when we are too tired to kick.  If that's where you are today, I get it.   Maybe the gift you have to offer right now is to simply notice those places where the light is seeping through the cracks, seeking to dissipate darkness.  Pay attention to those places of light around you, small as they might be, and give thanks for them…or point them out to someone else.  

For even in the act of noticing the light, we proclaim that darkness does not cover the land, that darkness isn't the whole story--or even the main story.

Where do you see light breaking into darkness today?

Prayer: God of Grace, let us not be battered by darkness, which wants so badly to paralyze us, isolate us, overcome us.  Give us eyes to see, this day, how you are dispelling darkness, and where you might be inviting us to join you.  In the name of your Son, Word Made Flesh, Light of the World, Amen.

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