The Other Side of the Light
Keith sends this seasonal offering: We're now in the season when we hear the famous readings of God's light coming to shine in the darkness. We sing for the coming Emmanuel to "Disperse the gloomy cloud of night/And death's dark shadow put to flight."...
On Christmas morning we light the white candle in the centre of the Advent
But how are you feeling? If someone asked where your mood scores on a
scale of 1-10, with 1 being the slump of depression, sadness or seasonal
gloom, and 10 being maximum brightness and joy, what would be your number?
Maybe it would fluctuate depending on the way you move through the Christmas
season. Or, you could be a strong 7 or 8, but then find that an item in the
news knocks you down to about 5 or 6.
With a group of people of any size isn't it inevitable that the numbers
will vary a great deal? Simply by the fact that in the same week someone
could be celebrating a birthday or the birth of a new grandchild, while
their neighbour is approaching the anniversary of a bereavement. And what I
feel about winter isn't necessarily the same as you.
So, could it be the case that we need to be a little more nuanced when we
consider the language of darkness and light? Is the whole of our story all
about the brightness? Are there times for the darkness to be welcomed and
not disturbed? Surely, we've all experienced trying to get to sleep when
someone walks through the door and flicks the light switch!
The truth is that light and dark need each other. Without the darkness of
winter, we won't have spring next year. The long, cold months are a time of
regeneration. For each one of us and nearly every creature, it's in the
darkness where life begins. The John who announces the light shining in the
darkness also has Jesus telling his friends that the single grain needs to
fall into the darkness of the earth if it is too bear fruit.
We all know someone for whom the bright glare of the Christmas lights
might be a bit too much this year, or possibly most years. Around the world
there are ancient and wise traditions which are particularly in tune with
winter offering space for quiet, rest and a depth of spiritual awareness. A
time for all to share in the sacred stories and appreciate the subtle
interplay of the light alongside the dark.
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Just wanting to say “yes” to this. You will be speaking for, and to, many. I will certainly be passing this on to others, and will contribute some thoughts myself later.
So, I was delighted to see Feral Spirituality make an appearance. I'd think you could find many wanting to join in