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Dark joy

December 13, 2012

I am waiting. I am waiting in a whole season devoted to waiting – in a society that doesn’t like to wait for anything. In the past few weeks, I am reminded that Advent is the favorite liturgical season for many an observant Christian. For me, as for others, this is not because we are anticipating Christmas. It is because it is the season that turns off the lights. While the rest of society is blaring halogens and electrified fur trees, Advent dares to flip the switch down. Advent says, “Quiet. Look at the stars.”

The actual stars. The real light.

Advent reminds us that we  have blinded ourselves with the petty twinkling of this world, and season demands that we stop. Our lives are about anticipating satisfaction. The joy of Advent is in the waiting itself. The joy is the mystery of a divine for whom we waiting. The divine who comes to us even as we are waiting. The divine we can only see when we dare to sit in the darkness.

If there were no Christmas – Advent would be enough. After our pupils have dilated, and when we are ready to look into the depths, we see that the divine is already here. She has been with us since before the beginning. Advent is our season of sitting in that presence. Advent is us waiting to remember.

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