Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Light, 12/24/13: Through a Glass, Darkly

Christmas Eve is the last day of Advent—the end of the waiting. Word made flesh, promise arrived, fulfillment begun. 

I have spent a lot of time looking at this window in the last few months. I cannot explain why it comforts to look at it, but it does. The colors soak, radiate, enfold. 

What the light does with the glass—somehow it is a promise of goodness.

I looked forward to sitting with my family again tonight and looking at these colors, and singing, and praying, and yes crying, because the Christmas Eve service never fails to bring tears. I did not expect to grasp or understand all of what there is to grasp or understand, but I knew it would be enough. 

Tonight, though, the window was darker, lit only by a spotlight on the ground below it outside. The brighter lights were insidewhite lights on strands, and candlelight. I sang maybe half the verses of any carol, and spent the other half choking back tears. The words matter deeply. 

At the end of the service, after communion, each person was given a candle. Beginning with the flame from the Christ candle at the center of the nativity wreath, we passed the light, spread it from person to person until every one of us was holding light in our hands. Youngest was not the only child to hold her flame up high over her head, proud. 

Light, here with us.

There are three words I want to carry with me from here on out: love, mystery, graceI don’t want to forget—I am afraid to forget, actually—how these entwine all of life. No matter what is happening, these things are there, too, and always part of the working-out. They do not fail, even when they are beyond my understanding. I see them always in how God works, signs of goodness and wisdom. I take them, too, as life instructions: love, know and embrace that much is mystery, give and be covered by grace. These words to me are light to live by.

It is late now, on Christmas Eve, and the fact that we are on the cusp is tangible even if it feels less dramatic than when I was a child. This is still my favorite night of the year, this shift from waiting to arrival. And the light, I think, is brighter now.

Life—living in this place—it is part vigil, part celebration. Not just today but always. I want to learn to better take part in both. To remember these things, in the dark and in the light. To hold the brightness in my hands, and even sometimes lift it high above my head.

Merry Christmas, my friends. Peace and light to you always.

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  1. Merry Christmas, dear Karen… and a wonderful 2014 to come! :)

  2. A wonderful 2014 to you, as well, Laura!


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