Sunday, December 18, 2016

Advent, Day 22: Light and Day

I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
   I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
I have given you as a covenant to the people,
   a light to the nations,
   to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
   from the prison those who sit in darkness.

- Isaiah 42:6-7

And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.

- John 3:19-21

Let there be light. That's how it all began: light bringing order out of chaos. Light may be the first and deepest metaphor for God's power and intentions. Without the light, we cannot see and cannot move confidently. We should want the light.

God created darkness, too. Darkness is also important. Darkness can mean the warmth and comfort of the womb or the restfulness of nighttime. But so often darkness makes us think of chaos and disorder, and of sinister forces accomplishing those things which they do not want us to see. We have "dark money" and the "dark Web." We have the "Dark Side of the Force."

In the Northern Hemisphere--and I live north of the 45th parallel, so I know of what I speak--we're getting a little tired of the darkness right about now. Where I live, the sun is now setting before 4:30 p.m., and it's colder than we're used to. We want the light to return.

God comes to shed light. God sends the Messiah to open the eyes of the blind, and you can take that metaphor in all sorts of directions. Those who sit in darkness are in prison, and it's time to tear down the prison walls.

I can't tell you whether you're sitting in darkness; you may or may not know that all too well yourself. I can reflect on the times I myself have sat in darkness. Quite often I wasn't aware of the darkness until the light began streaming in through a hole in the crumbling walls of my prison.

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