How can darkness be light?

 ”the night will shine like the day,”

I love Epiphany. … the celebration of light.

After the feast of love our family enjoyed this Christmas together, it makes letting go again a little easier.

Though many celebrate Epiphany only as a day, I prefer to think of it as a season.

I fill my mantle with candles, even a fairly over-the top candelabra my husband hates that I save for this season every year (sorry, honey).

 Who wouldn’t want to celebrate light?

 

I have a friend who has a wonderful new blog that offered me a broader perspective:

Epiphany and the beauty of gray

Her wisdom got me to thinking more deeply about light and darkness.

The Psalmist says it this way:

 12even the darkness will not be dark to you;

the night will shine like the day,

for darkness is as light to you.

 

So, how can darkness be light?

 

A few weeks ago I wrote a guest blog for a friend of mine, Bev Hislop who does marvelous work at Western Seminary and beyond helping the church learn how to wisely love and care for women.

About the same time, I did a Sunday school class and led a book club on the same topic: Holidays, Grief, and God’s Creative Darkness.

As I noted in all three settings, all the major movements of our faith happened in the dark: Creation, the Exodus, the Incarnation, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.  (a fact I learned from Fr. Peter Funk)

The Presence of God at work in these events forms an interesting conversation to explore in this season of light:

The darkness of creation: formless and void

God comes: speaking, seeing, separating, gathering, making, placing, and naming

The darkness of the Exodus: trapped and pursued

God comes:  inviting us to hope as we step into the water, making a new way as yet unseen

The darkness of the Incarnation: without belonging

God comes: speaking in strange ways, through strangers to strangers, enlarging our world

The darkness of crucifixion: betrayal and abandonment

God comes: as witness and suffering servant

The darkness of resurrection: dead dreams and new life

God comes: in surprising, beyond- our- imagination ways bringing transformation rather than reformation

 

In God,

with God,

within God

the night can shine like the day.  Darkness can be as light.

 

So, what does this wisdom say to me in the midst of chronic pain?

Frankly, I’m not sure. But I do know that because of these stories, I will listen differently to my own darkness and keep hoping for God’s creative energy to spark new life somewhere, somehow, sometime.

What does it say to you in your own places of darkness?

 

  • http://www.maryology.com Mary Keenan

    Ah! There is even more to darkness that is light. The owl and the bat are symbols of wisdom (and enLIGHTenment) in various traditions. They are awake (at night) when others are asleep. Interesting piece, Janet!

  • http://janetdavisonline.com Janet Davis

    Wonderful connections, Mary! Thanks for the inspiration…

  • Bill DeForest

    I am struck by what the darkness enfolds: the inky seas of creation brooding their secrets; the trembling virgin womb awaiting the promised new life; the long dark shadows enshrouding the dying Jesus.
    If indeed there is a dark side to the moon, then darkness is the twin sister of the light and as necessary because they are joined at the heart.
    Pain is like the darkness-the secret workshop of God-fashioning who knows what and for what purpose? Surely the answer lies in the stories of those other darknesses.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/janetdavis/ Janet Davis

      Thanks for your though-full words, Bill! I especially love the word “enfolds”… such comfort there… makes darkness feel like snuggling!


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