I used to be afraid in the dark.
Like lots of kids, I relied on a nightlight to keep darkness at bay, and ensure that the monster who lived under my bed stayed in its place until dawn when it was no longer a threat. Even in my adult years, I have been known to make my way carefully through a building from one light switch to another in order to stay in a lighted space.
I don’t remember when things started to change. Maybe it started in the years with tiny children, when another light might wake a sleeping baby. It probably helped when we moved to our current home where there are no street lights and few of the neighbors bother to turn on their porch lights.
I realized just recently that I am not really afraid in the dark anymore. Probably, the countless walks with my dogs before dawn or after sunset have cured me. Whether walking in winter before the late-rising sun comes up, or in summer after the day’s heat has broken (summer heat is too much for my snow dog), I am out walking a lot in the dark.
Advent is a time when the people of God notice the increased darkness in our days and are reminded of the hard, sorrow-filled brokenness of our lives. In the darkest time of the year, we light one, then two, three, and finally four candles that remind us of God’s presence and hope in dark days and sunny ones, too. We are never alone or without God’s light, even when we are afraid. Each night comes to an end. The dawn always breaks, bringing light and hope and yet another new beginning.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:5
God of Light,
You are with me in the brightest of days and the darkest of nights.
When I am afraid of what I cannot see, or what I would like to hide, you are there.
Bringing comfort, love and forgiveness.
When I am unsure of where to go, or how to move forward, you are there.
Bringing peace, wisdom and direction.
Fill my life with your light.
Fill me with hope, strength, and new beginnings.
Fill me with courage when the darkness is frightening.
Fill me with compassion when the darkness is frustrating.
Fill me with your love, and help me greet each new dawn.