Isaiah 60:1-3
© Hilary F. Marckx, all rights reserved

A Sliver of Light

Stuck in the dark.  No Light.
Fumbling for balance—
and direction—and confidence,
I shuffled from my sleeping bag
to sit by the small stream
by which I had made my camp
to hear the things I could not see.
I could hear the stream
and I could feel pebbles beneath my feet,
but there was no sight.
And then a moment of pure joy
as a sliver of moon darted through the cloud pattern.
And I wondered at the impact
the coming of the Christ
had on the darkness of the world.
For, in some ways the world is still as dark,
and in some ways it is so much brighter.
And it comes to me that it
may be simply a matter of perception—
Those who choose to perceive the light will see it,
and those who do not perceive the light,
will continue in darkness.
It could be that in this Advent Season,
it is not so much our task to show the light
as it is to perceive the light.
Of course, perceiving light and discovering joy
may well be one and the same.

The Third Week of Advent is a week when the darkness is partially lifted, and it is symbolized by a rose/pink candle in the Advent Wreath.  It celebrates the traditional theme of Joy.  Our perception of waiting for what we have desired, dreamed, hoped is coming to a close and we move one step, one week, one expectation closer to the coming of light to our darkness–the birth of Jesus.

The irony of Advent is that we are waiting for that which we already have!  Jesus is among us, but still we await, dream, wish it could be real, evident, true.  And while it seems others know all this as fact, there is in our own minds and hearts, and conditioned by our own life’s experience a small question mark, a hesitation, born of past crushed hopes, dashed dreams, and unfulfilled promises–all turned to the bleak darkness of cynicism..

I want to offer a way out, here, a small change of perspective.  Truth itself is little more than realized metaphor.  The best we humans have to explain truth, the essence of our lives, the stuff of our dreams are metaphors.  Any time we say something is something, we are heavily using metaphor.  Once we realize that a metaphor is the best we get, then we can begin to understand the incredible gift we are given.  If we can make the shift from needing to believe that fact is somehow more relevant than metaphor, then we can live fulfilled.

The facts surrounding “What Is,” are always going to be obfuscated, blurry, confused, but metaphor makes clear what is not.  We use the word, “is,” to proclaim the un-proclaimable.  Jesus IS the light of the world.  God IS love.  There IS a balm in Gilead.
And, of course, we ARE…  I AM…  Advent IS…  Hope IS…  Peace IS…  Joy IS…  Love IS…  Christmas IS…   We are moving through life, through time, through space in metaphor.

There IS a light in our darkness just as certainly as there was a light for me on that nighttime mountain side so many years ago.  My life teaches me that light always reaches out to me in my darkest moments, and so my life also reaches out as metaphor to teach me about the Actions of God.  Light, if we will allow it, will change the cynicism of our thinking into joy.


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