The days are growing shorter than ever - I've noticed I switch on my car headlights almost without thinking on the run to and from work and, in surgery, opening my blind around 9am there was still not much morning to light my office. I have been meditating on Isaiah's words - quoted by Rob earlier this month - "the people who walked in darkness....". Earlier this week I found myself plunged into darkness when, before anyone else in the house was awake, a fuse blew as I switched on a light, leaving the entire middle floor of the house without power. Not wanting to wake anybody up, I attempted to dress entirely in the dark. The process probably took me at least half as long again as it would have done if I had been in the light. Later, also before light, I walked past a gateway into a closed yard and reflected on how, in the dark, I was vulnerable to whatever might have sprung from it. These experiences got me thinking about the effects of darkness - the fumbling, the slowing, the fear.
Of course, once the light comes, the darkness is forgotten. But imagine walking in perpetual darkness, not having the respite of the light, even for a few short hours. Jesus is the "great light" or, in the words of the carol, the "everlasting light". The reason we burn an advent candle is to remind ourselves that He is the Light of the World and that darkness is no longer.
This poem shares some of these themes. It was written, 21 Christmases ago, by Faith Forster.
I do not want to walk in Shadowland
where doubts and fears and nameless ugly things
creep slithering from recesses of the mind
to lurk in corners or the bend of stairs
and cast their darkening shapes around my head
in my lone climbing.
I want to be like Mary when the Spirit came....
who knew the beat of wings above her,
the shadow of the Most Hight falling
like a cloak about her....
stirrings deep within her and
a breath upon her face, like some
sweet zephyr from another world
where holy things are born....
where life springs out of barrenness,
no shade of doubt can linger
and where nothing is impossible
May Jesus light your world today! Abby