"The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned."
As I approached advent this year I have been very conscious of the above words from Isaiah. These words speak of the contrast between dark and light. We don't easily talk about darkness nor are we comfortable living in darkness. At this time of year we like the sparkle of fairy lights, the warm glow of artifical lights, but not the great light, and certainly not darkness. I've wondered what it means to walk in darkness. Is it not knowing where you are walking? Does it mean not knowing what's ahead of you? Is darkness everything that is not of God - injustice, violence, terror, abuse, disease, and death? And if this is darkness what is deep darkness?
It seems we start advent walking in darkness. Then as the season unfolds our gaze is lifted upwards to see the greatness of the light that is on the horizon. As we see it is coming on the horizon we recognise we need to rid ourselves of the artifical light to make room for the great light. And as we rid ourselves of the artifical lights so we become conscious of the darkness. As we continue to live in darkness a light dawns. Our eyes are drawn to this light. As the light breaks we start to see again. We might only see a chink or ray but we wait in ancipation of the dawning of the fullness of light. In those chinks and rays we wait. We watch for the brightness of the midday. We become intrigued by the light and how it dispels the darkness. We are in awe of the light for through it we begin to see. Our whole being is uplifted and peace fills our hearts.
In this chink of light we don't forget the darkness nor do we disregard the coming of the fullness of light. Instead we wait in that mid-point in time. In it we pray "the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." My prayer this year is that the light of the world might shine in the darkness; and particularly being with those that experience a chink or a ray admist the darkness.