“The time is being fulfilled and the light shall shine, perhaps just when it seems to us that the darkness is impenetrable.” – Eberhard Arnold
There is something about this time of year in the depths of December when the winter solstice weighs on the Northern Hemisphere. My friend Lindsey Mead writes extensively about the winter solstice and it being a touchstone for us in the patterns of our lives. The darkness, the quiet — they define late December for me, too.
Another dear writing friend, Katie Noah Gibson, recommended a book to me last year, one that because of her rich recommendation and the compelling title and the featured authors, I bought a copy and dove in. It became one of the books I treasure and knew I would come back to year after year, especially in this Advent season. It is called WATCH FOR THE LIGHT.
Watch for the Light. Yes. During the darkest time of the year, we look to, and for, the light.
It’s not that the frenzy of the end of the year and heading into Christmas is dark, but sometimes — oftentimes — it’s missing meaning. What is the rushing around for? Why do we give and share gifts? How can we rediscover the importance of watching for the light, as we light candles and look to the true gifts of the season? A book like WATCH FOR THE LIGHT is a sort of reset button, that puts a pause on many of the things that steal my time and energy and help me remember the perspective in it all. This dark solstice Christmas and Advent season is one of my favorite times of year for pressing reset.
In Watch for the Light, there are essays by favorite authors of mine: Annie Dillard, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Merton, Lewis, Nouwen, and Madeleine L’Engle, but it is one by an author I hadn’t previously read that I’ve ear-tabbed and underlined and read many times since that has impacted me the most. His name is Eberhard Arnold, a German who defected in the early 1930s with his family and community to the Alps, who had lived not far from the Czech / German border, a region which I’ve traveled through and stayed in many times. He says:
“The time is being fulfilled and the light shall shine, perhaps just when it seems to us that the darkness is impenetrable.” … “Wherever love proceeds from us and becomes truth, the time is fulfilled. Then the divine life floods through our human relationships and all our works. Then everything that is lonely and scattered and seeking for the way of God shall be bound together by divine power. Then, of human effort and of the divine miracle, shall the world be born in which Christmas is fulfilled as reality.” – Eberhard Arnold, page 284
Love, truth, darkness, and light. Light will and does shine.
During this season of frenzy and dark, we can watch for the light.
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