Scripture Text: Psalm 139: 11-12
11If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,” 12even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.
If you are reading this at the time that it posts, you are in the midst of the longest night of the year. In meteorology, Earth’s winter season for the Northern Hemisphere and summer season for the Southern Hemisphere began on December 1, 2021. But the December solstice brings in the astronomical winter and summer seasons, respectively, for the two hemispheres of Earth. This will happen on December 21 at 15:59 UTC, which is 9:59 a.m. Central Standard Time for the United States. At that time, the imagined axis of the Earth will “tilt” and the seasons will change. So, for us, in the midst of the longest and darkest night, the Earth effectively tilts toward the light. After that, the nights in the Northern Hemisphere will slowly begin to shorten and the days will slowly lengthen.
So, interestingly, as our journey brings us nearer to Christmas, even the Earth shifts a bit to lean toward the light. I think that’s an important lesson. Because, as we’ve talked about before, the Light for which we look does not come flooding in unexpectedly. First, we journey in darkness so that we can learn the meaning of the Light. Think of the Light that comes flickering in as an invitation—an invitation to change, an invitation to grow, an invitation to understanding the meaning of the Light itself in a different way. And, so, in the darkness, we begin to tilt our axis, we begin to lean toward the Light. The change in trajectory is not just a shift so that we can see the light better; the tilt is our response to the invitation.
As the Scripture implies, even in the darkest of hours, even when we feel covered by darkness, we know there is Light. And as we tilt our lives, as we change our view, the darkness begins to be Light. That is what Advent is—a tilt toward the Light or, even better, learning to keep leaning toward the Light, regardless of how much darkness we see. Sometimes the purpose of our places of darkness are to compel us to move so that we can finally see the light, which means they really aren’t completely dark at all. We’re almost there. The Light is beckoning. Lean in toward the Light.
Why fear the dark? How can we help but love it when it is the darkness that brings the stars to us? What’s more: who does not know that it is on the darkest nights that the stars acquire their greatest splendor? (Archibishop Helder Camera)
Grace and Peace,