You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
I’m an impatient person
in an impatient world
december steals the sun
takes away the light
and leaves me in the long, quiet, dark.
it isn’t always quiet.
Too quickly for even an impatient person,
the quiet tears the dark wide open,
unzips the deep and fearful places in my heart
and the already dark dark becomes darker.
The once quiet places become banshee howls
and my overwhelming lostness is revealed.
My own (at times) love of this darkness is made
manifest and all I can do is gawk at it.
I am defenseless.
I am helpless.
A lone pole on a thunderstormed beach
In Your mercy, You find me.
It is perhaps easier as the nights grow longer to sit in and experience the actual physical darkness of this season. December allows us to do this, forces us to confront literal darkness for longer and longer periods of time. What would happen if we allowed ourselves to be still (no matter how uncomfortable) and reflect upon our own places of darkness? In what areas of our life could we possibly see the need for healing, for hope, for wholeness? Where do we need God’s light to shine?
This advent, it may be time to let the long nights provide the backdrop for an intentional act of self-reflection; to look deep within, around corners that have too long remained in the peripheral and confront the dark places that cause us pain, that frighten us, that keep us from truly sharing in the glorious freedom of the children of God (Romans 8:21).
While it may feel like stumbling blindly, we are reminded that God lights our lamp. God, whose infinite love is coming to us in this season, will turn whatever darkness we uncover into light and bring hope and healing into unexpected places.
Donna Batchelor is a hospice chaplain and youth pastor in San Diego County, CA.