Kindred in Christ,
One of the things I love most about Advent is the invitation to embrace the darkness and mystery in our lives. During the four weeks leading to Christmas, we get to only light one candle per week. A slow progression from darkness to light. This serves as a reminder that our spiritual lives are nourished from both the certainty of the light, and the mystery of darkness.
Join us this Sunday, as we reflect further on these themes in our series, The Unexpected Gifts of Advent. And in the meantime, I invite you to take time to meditate on the prayer below.
Advent in the Dark
We wait in the darkness,
expectantly, longingly, anxiously, thoughtfully.
The darkness is our friend.
In the darkness of the womb,
we have all been nurtured and protected.
In the darkness of the womb
the Christ-child was made ready for the journey into light.
It is only in the darkness
that we can see the splendor of the universe –
blankets of stars, the solitary glowings of the planets.
It was the darkness that allowed the Magi to find the star
that guided them to where the Christ-child lay.
In the darkness of the night,
desert people find relief from the cruel relentless heat of the sun.
In the blessed desert darkness
Mary and Joseph were able to flee with the infant Jesus
to safety in Egypt.
In the darkness of sleep,
we are soothed and restored, healed and renewed.
In the darkness of sleep, dreams rise up.
God spoke to Joseph and the wise men through dreams.
God is speaking still.
Sometimes in the solitude of the darkness
our fears and concerns, our hopes and visions
rise to the surface.
We come face to face with ourselves
and with the road that lies ahead of us.
And in that same darkness
we find companionship for the journey.
In that same darkness
we sometimes allow ourselves to wonder and worry
whether the human race is going to survive.
And then, in the darkness
we know that you are with us, O God,
yet still we await your coming.
In the darkness that contains both our hopelessness and our hope,
we watch for a sign of God’s hope.
For you are with us, O God,
in darkness and in light.
~ from the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand (abridged). Posted by James Hawes, on Sunday Papers. http://www.sundaypapers.org.uk/
Rev. Paul Ortiz