1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
A few days ago I stood awaiting the advent of the new year. There was a deep sense of standing on the brink of something weighty and meaningful. My mind was filled with all the commentary of our days bemoaning how dismal the past year has been, fearing how dreadful the coming year may be.
Instead, I just felt grateful. The night was calm and clear. Stars shone brightly. Air was crisp and fresh. I was filled with the awareness that life is a gift… every day is a gift… love is a gift, both from others to us and from us to them. It was a sense of the ship of our lives calmly cruising through dark waters from the past into the future, with our Loving Lord at the helm.
Suddenly, the verses above broke into this reverie. It was as if I held a candle in my hands, and God said…
“How much darkness would it take, Little Monk, to snuff out that candle?”
I had no answer…
Imagine yourself, as I did, standing in a small room with all the lights out, an open door in front of you, holding this candle. Can the darkness in the room snuff out the light?
Now, say we walked through the doorway and stood in a great hall. No lights shone anywhere but for the candle in our hands. Clearly, there’s vastly more darkness in this hall than in that little room. But does the candle go out? Does the candle flame even notice?
Forward we walk, obeying a quiet invitation, through a door into a vast arena. Imagine a professional football stadium, and we stand in the center of the 50 yard line. There’s no light anywhere but for us and our little candle. Can ALL THIS darkness snuff out our light?
In fact, as we stand there, we find other people walking up to us, attracted by the light, seeking to kindle the little candles they carry in their hands. The darkness around us makes no difference. We can see only to the limit of our light, but no matter how big the darkness is, it doesn’t diminish our flame.
Be encouraged, Gentle Reader. It is easy to feel overwhelmed watching the news, reading the paper, even following the daily drama of our lives and our communities. But our role is to lift our candle and walk forward. Let us not be discouraged or dissuaded by how deep or vast the darkness appears to be around us. The darkness MUST yield to light, and it cannot touch the flame. It cannot comprehend it.
Keep walking forward, walking by the light of grace, helping others find their way and light their own candles from our love.
Grace to you in this Blessed New Year, Gentle Reader!