Monday, November 28, 2011

Darkness into Light (Reflection on the First Sunday of Advent)

This is the irrational season
where love blooms bright and wild
had Mary been filled with reason, 
there'd have been no room for the Child. - Madaleine L'Engle

Advent is the excavation of our hearts. We begin to clean, dust off the cobwebs of the year, the words we collected, the stories we've been harboring, the sorrows and wild joys. In Advent we are making ourselves ready for the coming of Emmanuel. God with us. This Advent season, I want to offer a few reflections every week, to excavate my own heart and to prepare for Him with you. 


Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the
works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now
in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ
came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when
he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the
quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through
him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost,
one God, now and for ever. Amen. 

The collect for the First Sunday of Advent begins in darkness and light. How many of us have spent more time believing in the shadows than in the sun this past season? How many are skeptical of the promise of light when, after all, it seems pretty bleak? 

I have been one of those people. I have scoffed at the promise of the Light coming into the world, scoffed at the very idea that light is triumphant. Because in the mornings that are cold and the days that are long, when the work stretches out before me like an unending prairie trail and there is always one more meeting, one more problem, one more heart-wrenching, light looks like wishful thinking. 

But what has God done, we ask ourselves this week in Advent? What exactly has He promised about light and darkness? 

God gives us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and He puts upon us the armor of light. This is the week of humility that becomes majesty, that changes mortal life into life immortal, and that makes even the darkness seem like day. 

We have chased and chosen shadows over light all year long. We are the people who have walked in darkness who have seen a great light, who lived in a land of deep darkness and on whom light now shines. It shines in great humility now; it will shine in greater majesty in the time to come. 

Heavenly Father, give us again your grace to cast away the darkness and put on the light. Give us again your grace to watch for the light that has come into our dark land in such humility, that we might know that in us and among us, Emmanuel is coming. Amen. 

(mandie sodoma, sindisiwe photography)

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