Several weeks ago we passed through the shortest day of the year. More recently we celebrated the coming of God’s light into the world incarnate in Jesus the Christ. It occurs to me the timing may not be coincidental! And now already, the days are getting longer…we are experiencing more light.
So many things have come to mind as I’ve thought about light. One is the opening in the Gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” We have all known darkness in our lives at one time or another. It is the light of another’s presence or comfort, the light of our faith, the light of a personal epiphany that has brought us out into the light, if only one lumen at a time.
A fellow writer, Milton Brasher-Cunningham posted a blog on January 4th that mentioned the UCC belief that our still-speaking God has yet more light and truth to break forth. And then he says “Let’s go out into the dark and wait for it.” Can you remember a time when the power went out and you lit a candle so you could see? Do you recall how much light shone forth in the darkness? It’s amazing what a little bit of light will do. At Christmas time I have several electric candles in my windows. The windows have storm windows and that makes for many lights: the candle is one; one reflection shows on the inside window; yet another reflection bounces off of the storm window. One light is multiplied – generating that much more light.
It’s like that with us too. One small amount of light from us – in a small kindness, a listening ear, a patience that we might otherwise not exercise, a gentle touch, a reassurance, will multiply, reflect again and again, from the person we’ve been with on to those he or she encounters.
One of my favorite writers, Annie Dillard in her book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek shares this nugget of wisdom: “I cannot cause light; the most I can do is try to put myself in the path of its beam.” As we move through these dark days of winter, and indeed these dark days of a too violent world, know that God’s light shines in the darkness, and the darkness [will not] overcome it. There is yet more light to break forth in our world – in and through you. Put yourself in the path of that light – and then reflect it.