Kindred in Christ,
The season of Advent (the four weeks leading up to Christmas) invites us to consider something quite countercultural—the darkness is our friend. While well-lit spaces (literally and metaphorically) grant us a sense of security and control, Advent insists that there is beauty in the shadowy and unresolved experiences of our lives. Each week in Advent we only get to light one additional candle, a reminder that we must trust God as we move forward not seeing the full picture at first.
The above modern icon by Scott Ericson depicts The Annunciation to Mary by the Angle Gabriel (Luke 1:26-38). My favorite aspect of Ericson’s interpretation is the upside-down messenger, inviting Mary into an upside-down way of looking at the world.
Join us this Sunday as we continue our Advent Series, Shadow and Light! And in the meantime, I invite you to meditate on the following Advent prayer:
Advent in the Dark (full version here)
We wait in the darkness,
expectantly, longingly, anxiously, thoughtfully.
The darkness is our friend.
In the darkness of the womb,
we have all been nurtured and protected.
In the darkness of the womb
the Christ-child was made ready for the journey into light.
It is only in the darkness
that we can see the splendor of the universe –
blankets of stars, the solitary glowings of the planets
Sometimes in the solitude of the darkness
our fears and concerns, our hopes, and visions
rise to the surface.
We come face to face with ourselves
and with the road that lies ahead of us.
And in that same darkness
we find companionship for the journey.
In that same darkness
we sometimes allow ourselves to wonder and worry
whether the human race is going to survive.
And then, in the darkness
we know that you are with us, O God,
yet still we await your coming.
In the darkness that contains both our hopelessness and our hope,
we watch for a sign of God’s hope.
For you are with us, O God,
in darkness and in light.
Rev. Paul Ortiz