- Ann Weems
O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling.
- Psalm 43.3
Even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.
- Psalm 139.12
Light dawns for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.
- Psalm 97.11
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined.
- Isaiah 9.2
In a classic series of fantasy novels for children – The Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis spins a tale of life in the imaginary land of Narnia. Narnia, a land of enchantment, magic, and talking animals; yet a land frozen in unrelenting winter; for in Narnia control has been wrested from Aslan – the son of the high king – by a wicked witch. Under her dominance light pales, biting winds blow without cease, the snows pile higher and deeper, and despair creeps ever closer to the hearts of the land’s inhabitants. Narnia, as Lewis so vividly describes it, is a land in which it is always winter, yet never Christmas.
Always winter, yet never Christmas. This is a haunting and powerful metaphor, a metaphor appropriate not only for the imaginary land of Narnia, but as well for the actual lives of exile, bondage, and darkness endured by many individuals, some closer to you than you might imagine.
Narnia lives in hearts obscured by darkness, hearts condemned to exile and bondage by their own misused freedom, by forces beyond their control, or by both. Yet, as diverse as their stories may be, one thing is held in common by all people who walk in darkness. To a person, they understand that someone has to love them if their darkness is to be truly dispelled; someone has to gaze openly and honestly into their hearts – to see them as they are – and still love them. Only then, being loved, will they be able to love themselves, to regain a sense of wholeness, and even to reach out in love to others.
It is true; someone has to love you. If the people who walk in darkness are to see a great light - if we are to complete our journey to Bethlehem and find wholeness and peace - someone must first love us; someone must enter freely into the brokenness of our lives, see us as we truly are, and embrace us in love. The good news of Advent, my friends, is this: that someone is God. God, who finds us in our darkest hour of despair and gives us hope; God, who bestows on us peace, not because we deserve it, but simply because we need it; God, whose presence in our lives overflows in joy and celebration; God, who sees us as we are, cherishes us as uniquely valuable; and invites us into a future in which our lives will be both transformed and fulfilled in love.