15 December 2012

Advent in the darkest time of the year

Here in the Netherlands, it doesn't get light until about 8 in the morning, and it gets dark before 5 in the evening. The Christmas lights and the Advent star make the evenings somewhat lighter - reminding us that the darkness is not all encompassing. Yet, it is still sometimes hard to get out of bed in the morning and gratefully greet a new day amidst a world that feels too cold and too dark.

It is also dark because of the time of the year. Last year my mother's sickness coloured all of Advent. Her passing right before Christmas only confirmed my longing for a world where there was more light - a world of healing and health. This year, the tragedy at the school in Connecticut has irrevocably coloured Advent. The darkness of sickness, brokennes, sin and evil, and death have come crashing into our remembering and longing for Jesus' birth.

It is in the midst of all the darkness that we as Christians long most for Jesus' coming. Not only his coming as a baby which marked the light at the begin of the tunnele (the coming of the kingdom on the earth), but also his return when there will be no more pain and sadness and death. As Christians, we have this hope in the midst of all the darkness. As the first chapter of the book of John says: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all humankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (NIV, emphasis mine, via biblegateway.com)

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