Before the Light

In the midst of darkness… 

Light the candle. Flip the switch. Strike the match. Open the curtains. Raise the blinds. 

In that brief moment – the instant before the light strikes your eyes – you know it will come. You know that darkness will soon vanish. You know that the beauty of colour will be revealed once again and that the fearsome imaginings of shadows will be dispelled. 

This is that moment. Tomorrow is the shortest day of the year. Soon, the light will begin to return – a few seconds more at first and then minutes longer until, inexorably, the days will be sweet and long and spring’s fragrant blossoms will rise - birdsong will once again fill the air. 

Now is the time of hope. With the Jewish Festival of Lights just behind us and Christmas only days away, we rest in the dark with hope in our hearts for the coming of the light. 

At this special moment, let us stand still. Let us pause in this moment of anticipation. Don’t rush it. 

Let us bring to mind the many moments of darkness we have known. Surely, our lives are made of the dark times and the light ones that follow. The seasons of our lives circle from high to low and, we hope, back to high again. We have all known the lows of sorrow and disappointment, and the joys of love and friendship. Today, from the time of darkness, we look toward the light we know will come. 

Rain is followed by clearing and the arcs of many colours that sweep the sky

Tears are replaced by the gentle turning of the lips upward in a smile, and perhaps laughter. 

The aching cold of loneliness turns to the warmth of companionship as we reach out to a friend – new or old

Illness is followed by healing

Heartbreak is displaced by love, if we will only welcome that most powerful spirit into our hearts. 

At this time, we stand in the darkness and turn toward the coming light – unseen and unfelt – but coming as surely as the day follows the night. 

I recently came across lovely words written by Norwegian poet Rolf Jacobsen. He calls this poem, Just Delicate Needles

It's so delicate, the light. 
And there's so little of it. The dark is huge. 
Just delicate needles, the light, 
in an endless night. 
And it has such a long way to go
through such desolate space. 
So let's be gentle with it. 
Cherish it. 
So it will come again in the morning. 
We hope. 

The light will come

But not just because we hope or pray that it will

It needs our cherishing and our gentleness. We are not passive recipients of the light but co-creators. The light in our lives comes through our action and our intention

It is for us to be midwives to the coming of light. 

A bit of light comes in when we take a moment to see a situation from another person’s perspective

A bit more enters when we look again at the faces of those around us and recognise them as human beings with the needs and pains and joys and confusions and dreams, much like our own. 

The sun peeks over the horizon when we open our own hearts to let others in – feeling along with them – daring to bring their tenderness alongside our own

Dawn has come when all of us come to recognise that this connectedness is how we are meant to live – humans, birds, trees, earthworms – all in harmonious, sustaining community. 

Let us be among those who know deep in our bones, the oneness of all things

May we be bringers of the light

And may it come to all beings of the world we share.