It’s December, noted to be one of the darker months of the year with many days of clouds rather than sunshine. It’s a month with the shortest hours of daylight and longer dark nights. For many this is also a season of dark spirits in spite of all the festive holidays. For some it is the first celebration without a loved one lost this year. For some it is a time when budgets are too tight or prospects too grim. We look at the news around the world and shake our heads at violence, injustice, debates that tear nations apart, disasters that leave communities devastated. Dark times it seems, indeed.
Yet the major festivals of the season all focus on light. Hanukkah, Advent, Christmas and Kwanzaa all use candles fused with meaning and tradition. These festivals each in their own way promote faith and hope and community. They remind us that the darkness doesn’t win if even one tiny spark of light is shining. Light can push away the darkness, but darkness cannot push away the light. For many that source of light is our Creator.
If you look at the night sky, it is dotted with lights from so far away and long ago that we can barely imagine what science tells us about those distant stars, yet their light reaches us. We see the moon, which manages like a well-placed mirror to reflect the light of the sun to us, though the sun itself is hidden. Nature itself is declaring that neither distance nor standing in the way can defeat the light. It still shines and finds its way to us. If this is a dark season for you, I encourage you to light a candle as an act of faith. Take a drive through town at night and enjoy the lights of the season. Keep your eyes open for ways the light of hope is trying to reach out to you.
Through my reading and reflection this December, I have been reminded many times that the traditions we celebrate are more than pretty stories of long ago. They shine a light on our present world, inviting us to live in ways that make a difference, in ways that reflect the light of God to others. We can be a ray of hope, a twinkle of joy, a spark of compassion, a beam of blessing, a glow of comfort, and a beacon of faith by the things we say and do in this and every season. Share that light that shines in the darkness, and may you find yourself bathed in the light as well.
First United Presbyterian Church,
Clinton Ministerial Association