The Darkest Days

Have you ever experienced a power outage in the middle of a busy evening? All of a sudden the house goes completely dark and everyone cries out, stumbling around. You fumble around for the emergency matches and candles, and the first flicker of light is such a relief!

That tiny light which wouldn’t normally be noticed becomes an illuminating beacon.

My pastor, Marian Buckwalter, recently wrote a Sunday worship meditation that I want to share a part of with you–a little light for these darkest days of the year.

Restore us, oh Lord. Lead us to wholeness. A fitting prayer for December 2020, when our world has been topsy-turvy. Pandemic defines our lives – work from home; stand 6 feet apart; job loss; toilet paper shelves empty; Zooming for worship services, for school, for work; anxiety; death. The ugliness of racism that permeates our society has become more in focus, at least for those of us who are white. (For our brothers and sisters of color it’s been in focus for a long time.) Political divides leave deep, gaping wounds in our country, permeating family relationships and church relationships. Oh, how we need the wholeness and restoration of our God!

The challenges of this year might drive us apart. But what if, in our more alone-ness, we dig deep into the wonder and mystery of God? What if we listen and watch for God like we never did before? What if we sit with our broken hearts and our mourning before God, the only one who can heal us? This year invites us to see God from a new perspective, like Mary did. When things feel out of control, we discover who we are, and who we are not, like John the Baptist. As we journey along, even if our journey is more alone than usual, let’s employ the tools of rejoicing, prayer, and gratitude. Let’s watch expectantly for what God will do!

I have also been thinking about grief recently–all the losses that have been piling up this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I think it is appropriate to name our grief in these darkest days, even as we look forward with anticipation to the joyful advent of Christ. We bring our whole selves to God. the joyful and the grieving.

What are some of the losses we have experienced over this past year?

Not in order of importance, here are some I’ve thought of:

  • loss of life (300,000+ due to COVID-19 in the US alone)
  • loss of loved ones (millions grieving COVID-19 and non COVID deaths alike)
  • loss of community support (church, co-op groups, co-workers, other support groups)
  • loss of significant life milestone celebrations (graduations, funerals, weddings, holidays etc.)
  • job loss
  • loss of business
  • financial loss
  • loss of personal freedoms and conveniences (wearing masks, few social gatherings, etc.)
  • loss of safety (women and children especially who are trapped in abusive situations)
  • loss of educational opportunities
  • loss of planning for the immediate future
  • loss of routine
  • loss of physical touch (hugs for those we love)
  • loss of health care opportunities

I’m sure there are many more losses that could be added to this list. What are some that you think of? Let’s lament, even as we expect to see the hand of God at work.

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. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.   (John 1.1-5)

with love, Anita

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