That is the government whose coming we really await, the rule for which we really hope, the dawn for which we really long. In fact, it came a long time ago, an inauspicious solstice on a night in Bethlehem, very little noticed at the time. That small dawn, which we will celebrate again this Christmas, is still growing toward the fullness of the promised day we yearn for. The dark clouds still obscure its brightness as they roll in and out, sometimes thinning to wisps, sometimes thickening again to smothering blankets of fog.
Nor are we mere hapless observers of the dramas of our skies. Sometimes the clouds above us are smoke from our own fires, smog from our own freeways, choking fogs from our own battlefields. We can't make the waited sun rise, nor can we prevent it. But we can and do clear the way for the light or force it into hiding behind the oil residue from our ego-driven works of darkness, as the Bible often names them. We, who live at the heart of the rising Sun, are called to light up the world with its blaze, said Jesus. He said that no one lights a lamp and puts it under a bushel basket. He lights the lamps--whatever goodness burns in us--but we can be expert basket weavers, covering it up and even smothering it to ashes because fire does burn what holds it.
I personally would be just as happy to see the pink come and go on this one Sunday of the year. To be part of the work of lightening the heavy purple of the gathering night every day is another matter entirely. However, I recognize, at least some of the time, if I clamp down the bushel basket to hide me safely, I too will have to live in the resulting darkness. And so must we all, if we refuse to burn with the light of Christ, the dawn that edges our night with reflected fire.
©2008 Abbey of St. Walburga