It is the night of the winter solstice. And magic is afoot...
As far as the natural realm goes, the days have been getting darker and darker since the autumn equinox in September. This darkness has reached its peak this very night.
But though it is the darkest night…
It is also the rebirth of the sun
and brighter days lay ahead.
And then, in a few days, we have - of course - Christmas, the day that the Christian tradition celebrates God (or whatever you call it - Source, the ground of our being, the ‘moreness’ of us, Life, etc.); the light of the world, revealing Godself in human flesh in the birth of Jesus so as to show us what God is like.
Tonight, we mark this intersection of the natural and spiritual world as these two events - solstice and the Advent of Christmas - simultaneously take place.
But they are really the same event. For we can never truly separate the spiritual and the secular. They accompany each other.
The light came in the comforting darkness of Mary’s womb. The cosmos burst forth in the embracing darkness of the void. Candles flicker in the dramatic darkness of this quiet yet joyful night.
As we step towards the darkest day, it helps to adjust our perspective on what darkness is. For darkness is not to be feared. In the ancient poem of Genesis which kicks off the Hebrew Bible, the darkness is filled with the glory of God. There is no need to abolish the darkness. As the story goes, God did not abolish the darkness. This endeavor would be impossible if we tried.
Tonight, we allow the darkness to be... redeemed.
For darkness is not bad in and of itself. The light of the world - this divine belovedness that encompasses everything - shines in the darkness but does not overwhelm or erase it. Darkness and light are both integral parts of this magnificent universe.
According to the story, when God creates the light, the darkness is not extinguished or cursed, but complemented. Light and darkness both have a purpose in the created order. Each is necessary for the unfolding of God’s movement towards us and all of creation in love. Day and night together - as two parts of a whole - are declared ‘good.’
It is on this darkest day of the year
that we proclaim
that this is so.