In just a few more days, on December 21, the light will begin to shift. Slowly, gently, carefully, the days will start to lengthen and the nights will grow shorter.
An awful lot of people whom I’ve talked to recently seem particularly stressed this Advent. No matter what you believe about the notion that the world will end on December 21, 2012, there does seem to be more of an apocalyptic feel to the air this year. The ongoing war in the Middle East, the mall shooting in Oregon last week, and especially, the slaughter in Newtown, Connecticut, on Friday do much to add to the sense that we are in dark times indeed.
In the midst of this, I keep going back to John’s Gospel:
What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it (Jn 1:3-5).
This year, I have strung more lights than ever throughout the house in preparation for Christmas, and I have been keeping them on almost all the time. In this time when darkness seems so very strong, I need to be reminded of the Light here among us. (I may regret this when the electric bill comes in January—not to mention my guilt about the eco-damage of using too much electricity.)
In his blog post on Sunday, December 16, Franciscan Media Books author Dan Horan, OFM, notes: “Where is God today? And for what shall we rejoice?” Writing about his experiences in a concentration camp in his book, Night, Elie Weisel expresses a similar sentiment: “Behind me, I heard the same man asking: ‘For God’s sake, where is God?’ And from within me, I heard a voice answer: ‘Where is He? This is where—hanging here from this gallows…'”
O come, Emmanuel, God with us.