Advent 22: Into the Night

night sky.jpeg

When I told Loretta today was the shortest day of the year, her eyes got wide. She and her friend took a walk down to the bridge at 3:30 and I told her she had 45 minutes to get back before it got dark.

The darkness is real. I read the news this morning. Closer to home, a guest at the Lighthouse Mission died in his sleep two nights ago. And there are hundreds of people just in this town who will spend Christmas Eve in the hospital, or home, but lonely. And within all of us, we have our own shadows to contend with, an inner restlessness that’s painfully loud sometimes.

This afternoon, the clouds blew away, the rain held off, and now the full moon lights up this longest of nights. The default metaphor is that darkness means we’re lost, or evil, or without hope. Thankfully, there’s a great tradition of it meaning something else—sustenance, quiet, rest, solace, and totally necessary for experiencing light.

So on this 2018 Winter Solstice, I’ll leave you with a few lines from David Whyte’s poem The Journey:

Sometimes with
the bones of the black
sticks left when the fire
has gone out

someone has written
something new
in the ashes of your life.

You are not leaving,
even as the light
fades quickly now,
you are arriving.