Thought for the month
From Darkness to Light
One of the many things I enjoy about the Christmas season is the tradition of brightening the long dark nights of winter with a little bit of sparkle. My lounge with a Christmas tree lit up in a corner, dark streets transformed by flashing father Christmases, reindeers climbing roofs, tastefully sparkling trees on front lawns, and lights of all shapes and sizes strung up in our shopping malls.
“From Darkness to Light” is the name of a service held at Salisbury Cathedral at the beginning of December. One year I went with my daughter. The cathedral was full to bursting, the service started in total darkness and slowly, one carol and one reading at a time, 1300 candles were lit bathing the place in a soft beautiful light. A wonderful experience of light coming to illuminate the darkness.
The image of light coming to illuminate our darkness is very powerful and one shared by most religions. I can’t imagine anyone honestly saying they want to remain in a dark place, metaphorical or real. We suffer in the darkness: the darkness of loss – a loved one no longer with us this Christmas; the darkness of war – so many refugees in search of a home; the darkness of poverty – so many falling into the hands of loan sharks preying on those who cannot afford to buy presents; the darkness of not belonging – spending Christmas alone when the world seems to be full of families eating together. So many dark times and places longing for light.
It is one of the paradoxes of the Christian faith that God is revealed to us in the darkness. In a poor cave, born to a teenage mum, forced like a refugee today to flee for safety to another land, crucified on a cross. God come to be with us in all the darkness of our world.
But from this darkness comes light. Not the transient sparkling lights, put back in the attic each new year, but the everlasting light of love which never dies. God’s love always there for each one of us. The light we remember each Christmas as we contemplate the babe in the manger, come to be with us, bringing hope, peace and good will to all.
“What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” John 1.4-5