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Coming Out of the Dark

I have been having problems for weeks. I can no longer trust my ability to tell time

between 4:30 pm and 9:30 pm. I tell my family that it is 7:00 pm, 8:30 pm, 9:00 pm, or 10: 30 pm, and I am always wrong. With the setting sun and resulting darkness of each day, my confusion grew with the wearying darkness of 2020. The world shifted for communities in 2020. A life-sapping virus confronted us, making us give up the life we knew. We washed our hands, our mail, and our groceries. People started to fight about wearing masks. Family, the source of comfort, and joy became contaminated enemies. Malls, movie theaters, and offices shut down—the economic downturn hurt many. We learned to zoom into the night. Terrible things caused us to cry for justice. Hospitals filled. Too many funerals and memorial services took place. The ship of state looked like it might unravel. Often at night, the darkness felt like a heavy blanket of fear and anger.

However, not all darkness is terrible. Sometimes in darkness, change comes. In the Christian scripture of Luke 2:8-20, shepherds shoved to society's edges sit in the dark doing a lowly job. They are in the hidden underclass. They are ignored, oppressed, and maybe depressed. One night, the angel announces that God, who created the world out of darkness, has created a new world for all people. It is a world where God has shaped a new way to relate to humanity. The angel tells shepherds about the birth of Jesus, a Savior, and Messiah. With the sound of joy tempering the dark, the shepherds rejoice and receive a new message: God has brought hope, peace, and life for them and others.

In the dark, the shepherds get together, then make a plan, and then go to Bethlehem to see this baby, the Savior. Enlightened, they then tell others about their experience of meeting the one God has sent. They go back to their sheep and fields with darkness still around them. However, shameful darkness does not cling to them as it did before. They have heard and received hope in the dark. Hope gives them peace. In peace, they have found unity, and in harmony, they have moved toward freedom as spirituality renewed people who reimagine their value.

Reflection Notes

  • Holy change in dark places or confusing episodes in our lives can be ours.

  • Listen and look for the movement of the Holy.

  • Embrace the messages of change that come to you.

  • Unify with your communities

  • Envision the steps you need to take to move forward to a new life in God.

  • Begin moving even if answers are still in the shadows. As you go, you will find your blessings as you come out of the dark.

  • What blessings have been revealed to you in using this spiritual exercise?

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