Living in darkness leads to desperation, and desperation can lead people to do tragic or beautiful things.
At this time of year in particular, working from a building open to the public during the day, I come across two kinds of people. There are those who come trying to scam us (and our neighbours) out of money. We have learnt to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. But what kind of darkness has so borne down on someone to drive them to attempt to steal from a church, to try to exploit kind-heartedness?
And there are those who come, having lost a loved one, and feeling that somehow, by not being able to stave off death, they have let their loved one down. Invariably, in sitting and listening to them, I can see that nothing is further from the truth. Again and again, they recount how they were there day-in day-out, or tell of battle after battle won, before one day they weren’t there or a final battle inevitably lost. Sometimes darkness allows us to shine, even if we cannot see ourselves shining.
Jesus is described as the Morning Star, visible in that part of the night which feels especially dark before the sun begins to rise and the sky grows light again, by degrees. More, so bright that it remains visible even as the darkness falls away: a promise, or testimony, that outlasts the dark and sees us into day.
O Morning Star,
splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death.