Recently I experienced a painful rupture in a precious relationship that left me stunned and feeling what I can only describe as darkness.
Grief of this lost (or at least on hold) friendship is blending in to the worry and anxiety I am carry about people in my family who are facing serious illness, including my grandfather, who seems to be getting closer to death.
I am also feeling this darkness in a different, equally poignant way. The wonderful abundance of parties and other social events to mark the Advent season and coming Christmas Feast bring a slew of response cards and plans for family celebrations that I wish I could say that I would indeed be bringing my significant other to.
Numerous Christmas cards are starting to trickle in through the mail and I find myself imagining them being addressed to “Elizabeth and…”
This was all swirling around in my head and heart this morning at Mass when the priest tossed the water to bless the Advent wreath and read the following verse from Isaiah (9:1-2), which also happens to be the beginning of the first reading for Christmas Mass at Midnight:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing…
This prayer thrust me back to a visit years ago when I went to see a friend who had just gotten out of jail and was in detox at a treatment center. I remember clearly our conversation where she described feeling like she was looking down a long tunnel of darkness. “But,” she said, “I can see a little pinpoint of light that gives me hope that I will be OK.”
As the days grow shorter, Advent is literally a time of increasing darkness and waiting, looking for the light. It is also a time of hope where we can become more motivated for the future God has planned for us, but our tunnel-vision sometimes prevents us from seeing.
This longing may seem like a curse,especially when it is enhanced by our impatience that is even more amplified in a culture of instant gratification and the season of shopping and consumption that encourages indulgence in lieu of patience.
All the time God is giving signs. Now is a good life. Open our hearts. The fullness is here. The present moment is good. How often we are tempted to focus on the darkness instead of the light!
The Good News of Advent is that God is with us in our gloom. Darkness will be lifted the more you and I give and receive love.
- So, what is your darkness this Advent?
- Where is the light in your life?
- How are you called to give and receive love?
A simple prayer for waiting and love this Advent
I give you thanks, Lord, and pray that tomorrow I see you more clearly and love you more deeply. The future is yours, Lord. In love and hope may I grow in to it.
May our hearts be open to the love the Lord wants to pour in.
May our communion teach us to love.