It has been an exceptionally Adventy Advent. Full of darkness that I couldn’t quite explain…. full of grasping and digging in with my finger nails for any shread of light.
I’m not even sure how to tell you about it, though I have tried to several times.
It was as if I just found myself in a room where the lights went off… like someone had forgotten to pay the power bill and the past due notices weren’t getting through in the mail and suddenly with a click and a buzz and then a stillness, the darkness arrived and I yelped out loud at it’s totality.
The thing is, there should have been more light this year. We are at the tail end of a deployment…. As people have been reminding me since before he left, “How wonderful that he will be home for Christmas!”
An Advent of waiting has been made very tangible. My girls and I have been straining forward in this act of waiting for months now and we are about to realize the delight of the appearance of our beloved.
That’s a metaphor that’ll preach, no?
And yet… the darkness has engulfed me. Flat knocked the wind out of me. Is it the fatigue of simply being on deployment number 5? Is it the darkness that surely the whole world is feeling with the attacks around the world-Paris, Beirut, San Bernadino? Is it the darkness of Bigotry that potential leaders are now spewing quite vocally and visibly instead of in dark corners?
Is it biochemical? The short, grey PNW days have caught up to me again?
Or muscle memory from other dark Advents… the year of the miscarriage… the Christmases when we didn’t have him home… the year of the tumor… the year of learning to live without my Mom.
I don’t know.
My friend, Lia, posted a blog this week that had a paragraph that hit home so hard I choked on it.
Every year I think now this year, this is the year I finally *get* Advent. The sadness, the waiting, the longing for all things to be made new. And every year I do understand it a little bit better. This does not show any sign of stopping.”
It doesn’t show any sign of stopping…. it seems to be something that is inside of me this time of year and I can do nothing but let it in to do a work in me.
I vacilate between embracing it and rebelling against it.
There are moments when I have exhaled in deep relief when I realized that it was advent… As I’ve written before, Advent gets the darkness. “O Come, O Come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel.” “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.”
If there is a time in the church calendar for the darkness and the light that follows to be allowed in to do it’s work, it is this one
But in the face of fighting for the emotions that I want to have–namely relief, excitement, joy at my husband’s impending return I have also been deeply discouraged by the darkness. Discouraged and distressed.
I have felt shattered. shipwrecked.
And panicked honestly.
I offer no answers here… I haven’t found the end of this darkness, though I hope that some of it will lift when I find myself in the arms of my husband again.
I only know that in this season the darkness is acknowledged and expressed and invited in to do some myserious furniture moving in our souls….
And this is so because light is coming. “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world…”
I can invite the darkness in and hand it a snack and a blanket because it is working something out in me…. something that will be redeemed in a shaft of light, and an unexpectedely small form.
It will not get the final word.
This year, as in every year, the light will overcome the darkness…
I will hold tight to that here as I wait for the lights to come back on.