“Somewhere in the shadows we find faith that is bold enough to chase away our fears, that is bold enough to chase away our tears.” Joe Jencks
During this “sun-less” season in the northern hemisphere, and in the season of Advent which Christians like me observe, we often focus on light and dark imagery as a metaphor for life. “Those who sit in darkness have seen a great light” we are reminded, beautifully tying in the physical and spiritual elements we experience in this part of the world. The drab days leading to and away from the winter equinox have a powerful effect on our mood, our energy. So we imagine breaking forth out of the “bleak midwinter” into light and joy and birth.
The dark is often associated with fear, even with evil. But chaos has a sort of spark and brilliance of it’s own that is not necessarily welcomed. Christmas sales, flashy trees and the persistent demands of work, especially if you labor in a Christmas industry, holiday parties, family events, pageants, hoards of people at shopping malls, traffic jams, unpredictable travel, and our precious children who need extra support as well. You know I could go on and on.
Perhaps what we really need is night, not light. What if the passage read, “Those who have walked in the light have seen a great darkness! And they sat down, drank a bourbon and found a little peace.” Can I hear an amen?
Perhaps that is why Christmas Eve is the best part of the holiday for me (and maybe for you). We gaze at the tree laden with childhood ornaments; gifts are wrapped and family surrounding; treats are on the table and holiday music is soothing. For a moment, there is peace in our personal world. That is, if we let ourselves let go of whatever awaits us the following day. We sit for a moment with candles lit and hold the sacred in our hearts and bones. It calls to us, this beautiful darkness.
Contrary to most of the connotations we have imposed on “dark”, whether it be night, cold, black, race, skin color, evil, under-handed, glum, gruesome… you get my point….
… It is this dark peace that grounds us … the inky black joy that drips over that bright light like a balm. The enemy is not in nor of the dark.
So this Christmas Eve, I will welcome the peaceful dark, allowing a little time for my soul to catch up with me. Darkness. Bring it on. I choose the dark.