It’s the season of awakening light. Every Advent the prophet Isaiah instructs, cajoles, and inspires us as the gathering light of Advent stirs the faith that gives us the energy to live. His words sanctify the season.
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.” (Is 9:2) I’m aware that when I get up early it is still dark outside. I’m sitting on my enclosed porch, all windows now revealing shades of darkness out there. I look forward to the next hour when I can see the first light of day and then the sun reveals itself to me and the world around me. I’m waiting for that great light. Meanwhile, reading Isaiah comforts me.This time of year I yearn for more light and I appreciate its absence.
The house sparrows are mute as they awake at first light searching for something to eat. The robins, too, are scurrying around. This morning it’s a crisp 19 degrees outside and the robins won’t find squiggling worms or luscious insects as they hop here and there in search for food. They have to scrimp and try to crush seeds with their narrow pointed beaks. The sparrows, though, have beaks that crack and extract the protein within seeds so the sparrows get along better in the unending search for the scraps of the past summer. Every winged thing has to tough out the winter here in Northern Illinois. I, too, have to tough things out and I am hungry, not for food but for light.
The Church uses Advent to tell me that the world waited in darkness and gloom until the Savior, He who is the Light of the World. came among us. The winter solstice will occur in late December, coinciding with the traditional day of the Savior’s birth. Then, the days will extend slowly into full-blown Spring. Meanwhile, there is a long winter ahead of us –and it will be dark. But, then, Isaiah startles me again: ” Arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you…..” (Is 60: 1-2)
Living through Advent with Isaiah makes me yearn for the moment when I will see a brilliance that will never go out.