As many times as I have been through the change of seasons, the whole process still fascinates me. The shifting hours of darkness and light. The change in the weather. The mystery of the journey of our one small planet in all the universe around the sun.
December, in my imagination, seems like a “dark” month. Of course, there are bright days, especially when there is a fresh layer of snow. But we are more conscious of the dark as sunset comes on earlier in the evening. We have again been through the bright days of summer and early autumn, and now move into a more balanced time of light and dark.
In places of abundant electric power, the darkness does not affect us as much as it did people in ancient times or nowadays in areas without power. But you still hear people say “The days are getting shorter.”
And it is during this time of Advent and Christmas when we light up our darkness with lighted decorations, reminding us of the coming of Christ, the Light of our world. And this helps us reflect beyond our physical surroundings into the realms of inner life, spirit, soul.
I am reminded that we can see because of the combination of light and shadow. If all were light, it would blind us. If all were dark, of course we could not see. And so, as reflected in the physical world, we journey through our personal combination of light and darkness, invited to see and accept all that is in us.
The light of Christ, which shines through the Scriptures, through the traditions of the Church, through all that we have been taught by our teachers and guides, illuminates our whole life experience. In Advent, we pray again, “Come, Lord Jesus,” come and shine in our hearts and souls. He is always there, of course, in any season, but our autumn and winter darkness reminds us of our continuing inner need for his light and truth.
At this time of year, we especially pray and sing with the hymn: “Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts. Shine through the darkness.”
-Fr. Tom Zelinski