Dawn on our Darkness: What We Are Running From

…when we run from darkness,
how much do we really know about what we are running from?
If we turn away from darkness on principle,
doing everything we can to avoid it
because there is simply no telling what it contains,
isn’t there a chance that what we are running from is God?
~Barbara Brown Taylor from Learning to Walk in the Dark

…the deepest darkness is the place where God comes to us.
In the womb, in the night, in the dreaming;
when we are lost, when our world has come undone,
when we cannot see the next step on the path;
in all the darkness that attends our life,
whether hopeful darkness or horrendous,
God meets us.
God’s first priority is not to do away with the dark

but to be present to us in it.
~Jan Richardson

Go slow
if you can.
Slower.
More slowly still.
Friendly dark
or fearsome,
this is no place
to break your neck
by rushing,
by running,
by crashing into
what you cannot see.

Then again,
it is true:
different darks
have different tasks,
and if you
have arrived here unawares,
if you have come
in peril
or in pain,
this might be no place
you should dawdle.

I do not know
what these shadows
ask of you,
what they might hold
that means you good
or ill.
It is not for me
to reckon
whether you should linger
or you should leave.

But this is what
I can ask for you:

That in the darkness
there be a blessing.
That in the shadows
there be a welcome.
That in the night
you be encompassed
by the Love that knows
your name.

~Jan Richardson “A Blessing for Traveling in the Dark”

Light and dark are part of the interwoven tapestry of advent.
We stumble in the dark to the uttermost ends of the earth,
groping for a foot and hand hold
to keep ourselves from falling off the abyss.

Then He hands us His Light.
His glory lifts us, illuminates, covers and surrounds us
so we can find our path and walk alongside Him.

Startling, wondrous magnificence beyond imagination.
This grace brings us to our knees,
especially when we are mired in trouble.

Our Light has come, unexpected,
shining in an infant’s smile,
from the depths of darkness within a manger.

No need to run from such a gift of Love.

This year’s Advent theme “Dawn on our Darkness” is taken from this 19th century Christmas hymn.

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
dawn on our darkness and lend us your aid.
Star of the east, the horizon adorning,
guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.
~Reginald Heber -from “Brightest and Best”

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