One of the great joys of journeying through Advent and embracing the dark which falls ever earlier and earlier each day is the festive lights which are gradually switched on in our towns, cities and often next door neighbours’ gardens. The Christmas trees begin to appear in home windows and as we drive through the streets the young among us point out in excited voices the lights which are twinkling, flashing, coloured, white and some so over the top it fair makes you smile! Although I know Christmas is not about having a competition to see who can have the gaudiest and best light display in the district, I still enjoy seeing the lights in the dark.
For we know that at this Advent and Christmas time there is so much dark in our world. The news breaks our hearts every time we witness what is happening in Gaza … and we can wonder with almost dread what is happening to the people of the Ukraine whom the cameras and reporters seem to have now forgotten in lieu of more ‘exciting’ stories. The shadows and dark corners in our world are so many that our minds cannot begin to comprehend the magnitude of it all.
And yet we know, that on Christmas Day, often at the Midnight Service, and certainly at the Ecumenical Carol service we will hear St John proclaiming: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it … the true light which enlightens everyone is coming into the world”. These words challenge us to hold fast once again to the hope that in the end the light will triumph … and perhaps not even in the end – but now too. Not all is dark, and not all is bad news. People still seek what is just and true and beautiful. People still reach our across barriers of hatred and fear. People still do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with their God …. those who are of many faiths and none.
But we, and many throughout the world, do these acts because we can see the light – in the little things, our personal relationships, in our daily lives … and we turn to the Light above all else. We trust that the Light will overcome … despite the extreme struggles and difficulties which many face today. And we wait in hope for the celebration of our faith and trust in that Light once again.
So smile at the lights during this next month, and let their twinkling and colour remind us of the goodness and love which comes from God, which has entered our world in the form of a tiny baby … and transformed it for ever.
with love, Liz