Growth in the Darkness

Daily Scripture: Luke 20:41-21:4

Reflection: The Rev. Claire Makins, Associate Rector—Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, Episcopal Diocese of Northwest Texas

“There is in God, some say, a deep but dazzling darkness.”

This line from Henry Vaughn’s poem The Night calls us to rethink the darkness.

This time of year it is darkest it will be. As we move through Advent, we are aware of more physical darkness around us than at any other time. It gets dark quite early. Children are called in from their playing, people stick closer to home and hearth rather than venture out. When we get to Christmas, the earth will make its turn towards spring and summer, and then the days will start to get lighter and lighter.

I have always loved Advent best of all the seasons. I like the idea of watching and waiting in the growing darkness. There is a hint of mystery to it all. Something is happening in the secret heart of God, something incredible. We wait and watch to see what that will be.

Many of us have a hard time waiting, and we tend to run from the idea of being “in the dark.” I remember in my discernment process when I was going through all the steps one must take to be approved to go to seminary that the waiting was at once the most difficult and the most productive experience of all of it.

It was a bit scary to wait with the unknowing and hoping. It was also the time that I felt God was most active, working in the deep recesses of my heart and the hearts of those in my community to see what would happen. Sometimes we mistake darkness for absence, but God is very much present in the darkness.

As Jesus is growing in the darkness of Mary’s womb during Advent, there is the opportunity for Jesus to grow in our hearts as well. Mary’s expectant waiting, her longing, her hoping are all a part of the season. We should also wait expectantly and savor our experience with the Lord who is at work in the deep and dazzling darkness.