Is it a coincidence that we celebrate the Christ-child’s birth about the same time every year as the winter solstice – the longest night of the year?
I don’t think so.
From darkest night – a long impatient wait – mortals wonder when it will ever end. Then just when we think night will never end, Mary does the hard work of labor, pushing the child into the world. Jesus is here! Finally, it is morning.
The image of the Madonna giving birth to the baby whose job it will be to make humanity’s hearts whole so that we, like Mary, might hold the Creator’s Spirit within us. Jesus promised that this same Spirit, when we say yes to her1 coming in and abiding within us, would give us wisdom and power to be a servant of God doing the work of God – caring for others.
Simeon, the prophet, upon seeing the baby Jesus, called out to God describing what he had seen in the child’s face, “a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel” (Luk 2:30-32). From darkest night, comes light – a revelation.
God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2Co 4:6).
There is a fragile and luminous beauty surrounding us on this long night of darkness. Waiting. Tenderly watching on until the light shines. Then in the days after, we will watch as each day grows longer and that baby grows older until one day he would say,
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (Joh 8:12).
“Believe in the light, so that you may become children of light” (Joh 12:35-36).
Tonight, join me, let us ponder together the darkest and longest of nights until the beauty of the morning light shines upon us!
Check out April’s Books, the Disorderly Parable Bible Studies, for group and individual reading. She’d love for you to find the words “Follow” somewhere on this page (depending on your browser) and follow her blog too!
1 In Hebrew, the Holy Spirit is a feminine noun. In Greek, it is gender neutral. But I like to sometimes refer to the Spirit as feminine to keep us on our toes, not letting us get too comfortable with a male image of God.