In the beginning, God commanded Light to shine out of the darkness of this world. And then, over two thousand years ago, God sent a “Great Light” to lead the wise men to the place where Jesus Christ – the Light of the World – was born. Now, during the longest, darkest night of the year, God continues to bring us the abiding joy of Christ’s eternal Divine Light as it shines forth from within our own darkness at the innermost core of our being.
And yet, many of us are hard pressed to experience this Divine Light that is “hidden in Christ with God” (Col. 3:3). Our hearts – filled with an emptiness, a loneliness, a yearning – feel much more aligned with the dark night than with the Light.
But this dark night is a Holy night, heralding the dawn of God’s redeeming grace and Love’s pure Light. And so when we look deeply into the very heart of our own holy darkness – when we look fearlessly and deliberately and faithfully – we will find that Light: the most divine, radiant, eternal Light – the divine spark of God that shimmers unceasingly at the very core of each and every one of us.
As John states in the prologue of his Gospel: this is “the Light that keeps shining within the darkness.” It’s not dimmed by the darkness; it's not diminished in any way. In fact, the darker the night, the brighter its Light.
This is the Holy Mystery of Christmas: that within our deepest darkness, God’s Light can be revealed most fully to us. In all the darkness that may permeate our lives – in all of our losses and uncertainties, in our grief and depression – this is the place where God meets us most fully. The darkness is where God leads us ever closer to the pure Divine Light and Love of our True Home.
After all, God is this Divine Light, and just as we cannot see the light of the stars by day, we are hard-pressed to experience the Light of God in our outer daily lives. We need the dark of night to see the light that is always there. As God tells us in Isaiah 45:3, “I will give you the treasures – the riches – that can only be found in the heart of darkness, hidden in the most secret of places.”
And so God’s intent is not to wipe out darkness. God’s promise, rather, is to be present to us within it – to be our Light within the darkness. And so this Christmas, may we enter faithfully into the dark Holy Night and celebrate the One who comes to be with us: Christ – our Light, our Savior, our Redeemer – who is about to be born ever more deeply within each one of us.