Waiting out the night

an Advent series

a bright star has blazed forth
and no one has seen it
and no one has wakened
-Madeleine L'Engle, from "Advent, 1971"

The season of Advent is one of great ambivalence.  Darkness and light, sorrow and joy come as inseparably mashed as the butter and potatoes on the holiday table. Why this heartache in the midst of glitter and drink? Why this longing that seems lodged deep behind our stomachs? The Christian answer is not a clean one, it's not one that removes the longing. But it gives our eyes somewhere to fix themselves in the midst of the dark night: a light, the Light, sometimes fainter sometimes brighter, but always there, always signaling that night will end, always reminding us that as the old priest once said,

the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the 
shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
-from "Benedictus Dominos Deus"