Advent (Day 3)

Nov 29, 2011

that sneaky little hand

What is the point of darkness? Have you ever wondered?

In the beginning, we read, God created light, and he separated the light from darkness. Why didn’t he banish darkness?

We might argue that darkness is not inherently good or bad. It simply is. But something deep within us fears otherwise. One of the plagues sent to torment the Egyptians was a plague of darkness, after all.

If light is good and life-giving (in the natural world and in metaphor), I like to remember that it is most beautiful when it appears in darkness.

Each December at their Chicago preschool, my children walked an advent spiral. The usually bustling preschool classroom was silent and dark. The only light came from the candle burning at the center of a child-sized evergreen spiral on the classroom floor. In turn, from smallest to biggest, each child carried an apple, hollowed out to hold a candle, from the spiral’s entrance to its heart. Carefully lighting their candle (with the help of a preschool teacher dressed as an angel), each child walked slowly out again, depositing their candle along the spiral until the room filled with candlelight.

It always felt, to me, like one of the most spiritually profound moments of our year. Perhaps only excepting the year my then-two-year-old daughter caught her hair on fire. Well … maybe that year too. The angel did her job, and, ultimately, no little girls were harmed in the making of this magical, advent moment.

But, oh, those lights … we needed the darkness in order to see their beauty. In order to appreciate their message of hope.

For a while, we may sit in total darkness. Darkness, however, is never the end of the story. Ours or the world’s. 

The darkness will not last forever. Morning will come. Your Light will come.



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