This is the time for the winter solstice. The shortest day of the year. The day with the fewest hours of sunlight. At least it is so for those on our part of the earth. These shortened days make me want to go to bed early. As soon as it starts to get dark, I am ready to pack it in for the day. Productivity can be severely reduced. Longer sleep can mean more dreams which may be good or disturbing.
The light is shortened, but it is not gone. Somewhere the light is shining. Even if only briefly. That is what Christmas says to us again and again each year. The light shone in the darkness and the darkness could not overcome it.
We experience darkness in so many ways. Maybe the health issues of age make life dark. Maybe the responsibilities of caregiving hover like a cloud. Maybe economic uncertainty casts its gloom. Maybe guilt or regret cause a dimming. The condition of the world and what feels like ever escalating violence feels like darkening gloom. The crisis of global climate change can feel very dark. Grief and betrayal may darken our days. Addiction can feel dark. The future may look bleak. There are many ways that our days may seem darkened.
Christmas, with lights on the tree, lights on the house, lights in the yard, lights in the windows, and candles aflame, bears witness that the darkness cannot overcome the light. The light still shines. Maybe seemingly far off. Maybe dimly. But it shines.
Jesus reminds us once again to look for the light. Acknowledge the darkness, but seek the light – from within yourself, from others, from God. No matter how dark it is, the light is still there.
For reflection: When have you felt enveloped by darkness? What darkens your days?
Prayer: Jesus is the light of the world. No matter where we are, geographically, spiritually, emotionally, Jesus is light. That light is shining, somewhere, somehow. We pray for the will to look for the light and to let the light of goodness, peace, and love illumine our lives and the world. Amen.