Advent Down Under

It was dark before dinnertime today. I hate that. Short days and long nights aren’t my thing. Going out in the dark (and the cold) is always a chore, I’d just as soon stay home. Add to that the increasingly cloudy November weather, and it all adds up to gloomy. Winter is a time for cocooning.

Advent comes with words of light. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness— on them light has shined. “ (Isaiah 9:2) For Christians in the northern hemisphere, advent comes to us as the days grow shorter and shorter. Fourth advent falls close to the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. The darkness of the advent season, gives us time and opportunity to reflect on waiting for light. But because we are experiencing physical darkness, we can sometimes forget to think about the inner darkness that all of us experience. The writer of Isaiah was not speaking literally of a land of darkness, but of people who had lost their way to God.

Today I’m thinking about Advent in Australia. How would it feel different to be thinking about advent and darkness and waiting, as the days get longer, and warmer. Since we have our church picnic near the summer solstice, it makes sense that down under, fourth advent might be celebrated outside, under the sunny sky, maybe on a beach! Fourth advent on the longest day of the year, under the hottest sun. It gives a different feel to “…on them light has shined.”

In our advent worship this year we’ll be reflecting on darkness and light, waiting and fulfilment. It’s a time pregnant with possibilities.

God of grace, in darkness we seek you.  In the darkness of our mind, the darkness of our time, the darkness of the season.  Let your light shine!  Amen.

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