The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Advent has been troubling. My dad's been in the hospital since Thanksgiving, dealing with some pretty serious health issues. The young adult daughter of a lovely, generous couple fell ill this week and died. A friend who's led a torturous life and who battles addiction as a result tried heroin for the first time and loved it. There were bomb threats at Sandy Hook Elementary School. A child seeking refuge in the United States died of dehydration on our soil and on our watch.
And then, of course, there's politics.
The weather is rainy and dark, and the world seems to echo the pensiveness of Advent; this time of darkness when many of us feel without hope or light. We wait in the darkness of our sorrow, our shame, our guilt. All of it real, and tangible. None of it can be dismissed or denied.
Although the darkness feels unconquerable, we wait for light. Even when we think it can't come.
Because it inevitably does come.
Christmas reminds us of this truth: light comes.
And it doesn't just come. It's not merely future.
When we sit alone and desolate on the dark sides of our personal moons, staring out into the empty blackness of space, the light is already there, though we can't see it. When we sink into despair, thinking it can never end, the happier times are already happening in the future, existing in contrast to today's bleak realities. When we wait for Christ's coming he is already with us; he is already come, and is coming again.
The darkness is real. It is profound. But the reality of light is more real.
Sometimes we need to sit in the darkness. We have to simply let it be, and survive it.
But perhaps remembering that the light exits, right now, right when you are in the midst of darkness, can make it bearable. Maybe if you picture joy and wholeness the way it will eventually be again, it can help you get through it.
Our God is outside of time, and you are an eternal creature, made in God's image. You are a bearer of God's spirit. You are both material and eternal, and all time is collapsed into God's blazing present, both outside of you, and within you.
The joy is now. Right now. Right where you are. Right where you sit in that present season of darkness. Even though you can't feel it.
God is coming. God is already here.