Christmas Stories: Day 6
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During Advent, darkness reigns in Aberdeen. Although I don’t leave the house particularly early, nor do I return especially late, my daily journey to and from campus takes place under a black sky. Even when daylight finally comes, the impenetrable gray of northern Scotland makes determining the sun’s location an effort undertaken in vain. “Less dark” is the only clue that night has loosened its hold for a few hours. This perhaps explains why finding a light amidst the gloom, no matter how small, never fails to lift the spirits in the long winter months. Even a distant and faint twinkle serves as a reminder that darkness isn’t all there is.
Jesus came into the world under the cover of night, and although he was the “light of all mankind” we are told that a world shrouded in darkness “did not recognize him.” For people accustomed to living in the gray, Jesus’ appearance seemed like a ‘less dark’ version of normal life. This same Jesus, during his all too brief appearance on the dimly lit stage of humanity, suggested that we would take his place as the “light of the world.” That somehow “our good deeds” would dispel the darkness around us just enough that people will respond in worshipping the one whose glory exceeds the collective brilliance of all the stars in the cosmos.
But I just don’t see it. In comparison to that inexhaustible radiance, even my best efforts at righteousness look more like darkness than light. All too often, my half-hearted attempts at piety are little more than desperate cries of ‘look at me, notice me!’ Acts of prideful rebellion meant to garner the praise of others, and in so doing obscure the greater Light.
Perhaps it is this very recognition that turns our dreary deeds of righteousness into something less dark. It may be that the only real light available to us is repentance. A willingness to admit that all our shows of goodness aren’t all that good. An acknowledgement that the darkness is found as easily within as without. Truth be told, even our acts of contrition amount to little more than a faint glimmer.
As we await the Second Advent, we are daily reminded that darkness continues to reign. And yet, in this season of waiting even the faintest glimmer reminds us that darkness isn’t all there is.
Taido is currently studying theology in Aberdeen, Scotland. In his own words: I enjoy the outdoors, biking, good coffee, good food and drink, books, people. In fact, the best days combine all of these things. Oh yeah, and traveling. And movies. Sort of dumb. Doesn’t everyone like movies? You can find Taido on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or at his blog, Square Pegs.