Thursday, December 21, 2017

Longest Night

This is the astronomical longest night. The shortest day and the longest night of the year. This is the night upon which I hold fast to the promise offered us in scripture that, “there is a light in the darkness and the darkness shall not overcome it.” 
While this statement is biblical in origin, appearing in the Gospel of John (1:5) the Bible is not where I first encountered this profundity.  Rather, it was in my reading of Madeleine L’Engle’s, A Wrinkle in Time in which three children find themselves confronting the growing threat of evil forces in the universe.
They are not alone in the battle, they are aided by heavenly messengers. But, the heavenly messengers cannot fix things for the children. They cannot solve their problems, large or small. What these heavenly messengers can do is show them the glory of God and in that glory remind them of who they are and of the gifts they have. Remind them, that they have something that evil does not have.
But, while they offer the reminder, they are short on details. Meg, the protagonist, must discover for herself what she has that the evil named as “It” does not.
As she confronts the disembodied brain housing the forces of evil, she quickly discovers that the one thing she has that evil does not have is the capacity for love.  And thus, the only means she, and the universe, have for survival when facing this evil is their ability to love their enemy.  And, in loving their enemy, love becomes the one thing that can prevail.
Evil cannot withstand love. It may seem to prevail for a time, but in the end, evil does not win.
 As an adult, the strength of love in the face of the forces that seek to tear it down is a truth that I hold dear and that brings me comfort on the longest night…a night where we are offered the hope of the light that gleams in the darkness and the promise of a love that can endure all things.
With the promise of love, of light, and the expectant hope of a manger made ready, I offer this Advent Call to Worship: December Solstice
it is solstice night
it is the death of darkness

for an age
light has been slipping away
but now
no further

it shall return

and in the hearing of the darkness
the light says:
for your light has come

the promise frees itself from the frost
and long nights

there is an awakening
and in the hearing of the darkness
the light says:
the people who have walked in darkness
have seen a great light

the day now
shrunken yet
is filled with hope
and begins to stretch
pushing at the edges of darkness
scraping it away
with hope of new life

and in the hearing of the darkness
the light says:
for unto you a child is born
unto you a son is given

this is a darkness greater than any night
and the light more than the day

right in the heart of the deeper, human darkness
a manger is ready
as the age of brightness returns

the advent promise
has found a place
to chase the darkness
and make room for the light

written by Roddy Hamilton, and posted on the New Kilpatrick Church website.

This is a hard season, this long night in which we encounter Christmas. It is a season in which the pressures of the world, the pressures of family, the pressures of our expectations, the pressures of the expectations of others are so keenly felt. And yet, and yet, there is the Advent promise of light.
So tonight, we chase the darkness with a story. A story that has room for our pain, our fears and our anxieties. A story about a God who understands the pain of loss and the joy of love. A story about a moment in time when all was right even tho’ the world was asunder.  This is our story--in the light, in the shadows, in the fear, in the pain, in the love, in the promise. Our story.
And, so in the here and the now, I invite you to consider the story. To consider the story of a broken world, a waiting stable, and a light that cannot be extinguished.
At this time, I invite us to a time of silence. At the end of our silence, I will pronounce the Amen.


No comments: