Friday, December 14, 2012

O, Light Everlasting, a post by Nancy L. Agneberg

O, light everlasting
O, love never failing
Illumine our darkness and draw us to thee.
    Olaf C. Christiansen

     I walked the neighborhood this morning at 6:30, and although still dark, I had no trouble finding my way. I followed the lights, house to house, inside and out. In many homes I noticed Christmas trees already aglow, a welcome sight for sleepy children as they stumbled into the kitchen for breakfast before school or a comforting and quiet presence while reading the paper or checking email. I walked quietly and hoped nobody noticed me taking in these cozy domestic scenes. I offered a blessing to each household and prayed that this day would bring them more light than darkness. 
     The other morning, as I drove to Curves to exercise, I noticed the barest sliver of a moon. It couldn't have been much skinnier and still be identified as the moon. A child's drawing of the moon. And yet, so much light in the not yet morning sky. How little light we seem to need in order to see, in order not to feel blocked in darkness. On the way home, when the morning was much closer to being born, I drove past a home with a large menorah in its front yard, all but three candles illuminated. Seeing that light brought to mind miracles, including the first of God's creative acts. According to the first chapter of Genesis,  "God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness." This is the light that existed before the sun, moon, and stars, which were created on the fourth day. 
     Often I sign letters and sometimes emails "Light Blessings." I am not wishing a lightweight blessing. On the contrary, I pray that the recipient will know the light, find the light, and if the darkness seems overwhelming, that the light that shines deep in the recesses of our souls may be found. It seems to me that we let our light shine when we are open and responsive to all of life, even the darkness. With light comes clarity, direction, understanding. 
     Light reveals us to ourselves, which is not always so great if you find yourself in a big disgusting mess, possibly of your own creation. But like sunflowers we turn toward light. Light warms, and in most cases it draws us to itself. And in this light, we can see beyond shadow and illusion to something beyond our modest receptors, to what is way beyond us, and deep inside.
                    Help, Thanks, Wow 
                    The Three Essential Prayers
                    Anne Lamott, p. 7
    It is a paradox, however, that in order to know the light, we must also know the darkness and even as we learn to accept the darkness in our life, we continue to yearn for the light. Winter may be the season of darkness, but according to the Christmas story, a story that takes place, by the way, at night, darkness gives birth to light.
    In a couple hours I will light the candle on our kitchen counter, and I will turn on the lanterns lining our front steps. These tangible signs of light remind me to nurture my own light within, even when darkness descends.  Light Blessings. 

In what way do you or have you experienced light in your life? What light-filled people have you known? In what way does your inner light make a difference? What do you do to create light in the world even in the midst of darkness?