Dark Nights

Advent exemplifies the dark night of the soul. A season of darkness, in desperate need of light.  Yet, the light didn’t come in the form of dawn of day spreading across the sky. It came as a star. In the dark of night. A silent night, except for a baby among the beasts of the field. No earthly fanfare. The opposite. A heavenly celebration. A spiritual spectacular. And then darkness again. Silence.

I have had a couple of dark nights of the soul in my life. Times when circumstances were so unknown and gut-wrenching, I couldn’t even pray. There was no light. No noise at all. Not even the voice of God spoke. The only way to get through the deep darkness was to hold onto my faith. To believe what I knew to be true at one time. Even if it felt untrue in the moment.

What I have found, since these hardships, is there is always light.  It never emanates from me. It flows from God. Even in my darkest times, when tears are the only prayers and the groaning is too deep for words, there is light. While I wait for the darkness to pass, even in the midst of my own silent nights, there is a star. Shining. There are angelic hosts, surrounding me. Heaven is close, even when I cannot see it.

I think of Mary, in that stable. Wondering what in the world she was doing there. Wondering if she had heard correctly. A silent, dark night. A scary night for both she and Joseph. Not at all what they had thought it would be like to give birth to God’s son. Then the star, the angels, the shepherds came. The glory shone around the stable and confirmed they weren’t crazy after all. But in those moments before the light…the wondering, the pain, the darkness…the waiting was excruciating. Then the confirmation and celebration of the birth. The waiting was over.

Patience, my Dear One. Waiting for the fulfillment of promises is never a fast process. There are layers and layers of stages and steps before the promise comes. There is pain and heartache. There is doubt and wonder. AND…there is light. Always light. Not always visible to you, but there nonetheless. I never leave you or forsake you. Trust me in the waiting.

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