O come, O Come Thou Day-spring bright
Pour on our souls Thy healing light
Dispel the long night's lingering gloom
And pierce the shadows of the tomb
- From 'O Come, O Come Emmanuel,' origin unknown
Every year I dread when the days turn cold. The weight of darkness seems to increase as the daylight hours decrease. The chill and the gloom close in all around, and even inhaling deeply or lifting my eyes to look for beauty seems difficult.
Everything feels too heavy. Everything feels too cold. Everything feels too dark.
Yet in this, my first year observing Advent, there is a barely perceptible shift. I can sense moments of peace when I call to mind that I am intentionally observing this low time—that I've embraced this waiting in the dark, this participation in an age-old and sacred longing.
I am merely one of multitudes who have defied the gloom and shadows with hopeful expectation.
Being present to this yearning does not make me continually cheerful or warm or bright, but it does increase my awareness of the presence of Hope. I know Hope is pressing in close, right along with the heaviness and the chill and the darkness.
This Hope calls to mind the love and compassion of God. This Hope whispers reassurance that the darkness will not consume.
Hope waits with us, unfailing, as we anticipate the moment when Divine Light pierces the darkness and heals our souls with Love.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3: 21-26