I took this photo in Louisville some years back. I don’t remember the exact date. My friend John and I had been at his health club. He did yoga; I walked the treadmill. We came out to the aftermath of a storm and I got this photo of the moon appearing amidst clouds. In the darkness of the foreground, tree branches appear.
I posted the photo as my cover photo on Facebook a day or so ago. My friend Leslie observed, “Such darkness.”
She is right.
But as I looked at the photo and pondered her words it occured to me that while there is darkness, there is also the moon and the moonlight.
The darkness, profound as it is, cannot put out the light.
Indeed such darkness cannot even put out the reflection of the light.
Advent begins on Sunday, a time of preparation and waiting. In conversations with my son about a discipline we plan to practice together, we decided to make 12:01 AM (EST in the U.S.A.) our starting moment. That may not be liturgically sound. But it is what we choose.
What is sound, and more than sound, as a way to enter the Advent season is to read Advent/Darkness, a post by Christina Cleveland. Here are a couple of excerpts to encourage you to read her whole post:
… Advent isn’t about our best world, it’s about our worst world. …
… But we do the Light a disservice when we underestimate the darkness. Jesus entered a world plagued not only by the darkness of individual pain and sin, but also by the darkness of systemic oppression. Jesus’ people, the Hebrews, were a subjugated people living as exiles in their own land; among other things, they were silenced, targets of police brutality, and exploitatively taxed. …
… Advent is an invitation to plunge into the deep, dark waters of our worst world, knowing that when we re-surface for air we will encounter the hopeful, hovering Spirit of God …
Read Advent/Darkness, re-read, ponder, and pray.
I wish you a holy Advent and a blessed Christmas.
See you along the Trail.
Into darkness the plane sails,
proud ship of the air,
passing o’er ocean depths
where rest once proud sea-going vessels,
both great and small
now skeletons rusting, rotting.
In the darkness of the cabin
they sit in silence,
the comfortable silence of
computer chosen seatmates.
as exhaustion grips her;
sleep seeking to claim her,
fitfully shifts again.
Her head finds his shoulder,
then leans in harder without knowing.
His turn to shift,
but not too far –
masks deep discomfort.
Swiss International Air Lines
6-7 May 2011