Thursday, December 21, 2023

Blue Christmas: The Dawn is Coming

Within Advent, we call December 21st Blue Christmas. Today was the darkest, shortest day. Tonight is the longest night. A dark stretch that tomorrow will begin waning the other direction, giving us more and more light. But that is tomorrow. Tonight we sit in solemn communion with the suffering, the outcast, those in bondage, those in pain.

In Advent we wait: How long until we are delivered? How long until the darkness is redeemed?
In Advent we remember: Jesus the Light of Life was born and became Immanuel, God with is. It was He who pierced the darkness.
In Advent we anticipate: He will come again. Mighty and victorious. Blessing us with this assurance, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’” (Revelation 21:4-5a).

Though the darkness seems deeper and the dawn further from our grasp, Advent reminds us that we are not alone—neither in the waiting nor in the aching.

The O Antiphon for December 21st is "O Oriens." In English, it reads,

O Morning Star,
splendor of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

The word Oriens can be translated as Morning Star or Dayspring—a word that was once equated with the dawn. No matter how dark the night, there is an eternal truth that dawn will always come in the morning. The sun will go on rising and setting because it was ordained by the Creator, the Everlasting Father. But that does not mean death and darkness won’t continue on this Earth. On this side of heaven, they are a constant, a mark of the Fall, a curse as old as the Garden.

But we have a hope penned by Jesus’ ancestor, David. In the 23rd Psalm, David the shepherd honors the juxtaposition of suffering and joy, fear and love, uncertainty and peace. The passage ends in verse 6 with these words:
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

These days, which stretch on and on with dark shadows, despair, and confusion are not forever.

The Forever is coming, and it will be glorious because Jesus Himself will be the Light.

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