As the days get shorter, I’m noticing how the morning sun sluggishly awakens, while the late afternoon sun eagerly rushes out of sight behind the curve of the ocean. Each day in winter seems bathed not with sunlight but with darkness, as the earth itself expectantly waits for the growing daylight to emerge again.
Several Decembers ago I was going through a time of great sadness, unveiled right in the Advent season. I had recently lost a friendship in a particularly painful and surprising way that triggered many of my deep-seated fears. I began meeting each week with a trusted mentor who is now my spiritual director. Each session would begin with her lighting a candle, a reminder that Advent is a season of waiting for the light, and then we’d sit for a while in prayerful quiet before speaking words into the silence.
It was a deeply formative time, this time of waiting. I waited for a resolution to the situation, something to make sense out of the confusion and inner turmoil I felt. Although the situation didn’t resolve perfectly like I wanted it to, I did come to find peace within it. It was a sense of peace not dependent on things being great—because they certainly were not—but it was a sense of peace nonetheless, a deep feeling of trust that God would keep me safe from lasting harm, and perhaps keep my estranged friend going through a personal crisis safe from what they feared as well.
Today we celebrate the second Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of Peace. In these weeks leading up to Christmas we continue to wait, paying attention to ourselves and each other, increasingly aware of our longings, griefs and hopes, as well as those carried by those in the world around us. In this season of darkness we grow ever more deeply aware of our personal and collective need for Christ’s coming. Yet even in the darkness, the gospel writer John reminds us in John 1:5, a “light shines,” one that the “darkness has not overcome.”
Where or what in your life or in the world around you seems particularly devoid of light? In this world where so much is lost and broken, may we take heart that Christ has come, that Christ is coming again. The Kingdom's Advent is at hand. The light is breaking in.
With you and for you,