O come, thou Dayspring! Come and cheer
Thy people by thine advent here.
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice, O Israel!
To thee shall come Emmanuel.
I jerk awake in the deep of the night. Baffled, still, afraid, I search the darkness. Is something there, menacing, lurking? I sit up. My breathing slows and I reach for my lamp and the shadows are gone. The eerie black flashes back into the bookcases, stacks, piles and mounds of my room. Reassured I go to the kitchen for a drink, put out the light, and settle back into a snug blanket and sleep. Some nights it takes more than 60 watts from my trusty eagle lamp to settle my spirit when I wake in the darkness. The night The Silence first appeared on Doctor Who I turned on every light and searched my apartment when I woke at 3 a.m., but usually the lamp does the trick. The light defeats the darkness and the fears that live there.
Advent comes for us at a time of darkness. The night comes earlier and earlier. On most days clouds choke out the sunshine and dampen or freeze our spirits. The family atmosphere of our holidays reminds many of us of our loneliness, of loss, or long broken relationships. The consumer push for more and better reminds us of how much more we want and how little we have left to pay for it. For others the shadows are fleeting things. We recline at peace in our warm homes with our electric lights and our central heat and warm gourmet beverages with our Christmas entertainments and forget the darkness and cold that surround us. When we can, we ignore the darkness and cold within us.
Advent comes at a time of darkness to remind us of a coming light. A star shall rise from Jacob. A light will shine on those who dwell in a land of deep darkness. The Sun of righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. Zechariah, at the birth of John the Baptist, sings of the coming sunrise, the Dayspring in King James’ Bible. A sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. Simeon sings of a light for revelation to the Gentiles and glory for the people of Israel. John speaks of the Word in whom is life which is the light of men, light that shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.
Jesus names himself, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”. And In the Revelation the new Jerusalem needs no sun nor moon for the Lord God is the light and the Lamb is the lamp, Jesus, the bright morning star.
Remember in the darkness that the Dayspring has come, a morning star shines and the light of the coming, eternal dawn glows in the east. Remember as well that Jesus' followers shine with his light. This Advent, walk in Jesus’ light. Fear no shadow of death or sin. Let the light of Jesus’ love shine in your heart for repentance. In the darkness of broken relationships be the light of healing and forgiveness, even when the other person shades their window against the light. In the darkness of greed and want, shine the light of generosity, blessing, and contentment. And always stop to look and wonder at the Christmas light that is Jesus.