Where is the light this Advent…
I love Advent with the theme of darkness to light. The Cathedral Service on Sunday evening began the journey of Advent as we reflected on the themes of Advent. Advent is a time of waiting in great expectation for the coming of the light of the world both now and at the end of time.
For many of us this year light has become a major talking point as we consider our increased gas and electricity bills. If you are like me I am so careful about switching off electrical appliances when not in use and lights when I don’t need them.
Light and warmth are two of the most basic needs we have during these long winter months. Without heat and light life is miserable and it is no accident that our ancestors in the northern hemisphere developed the rituals around the winter solstice in the hope of the light returning after the shortest day and it is no accident that the Church developed its liturgies around darkness and light. So it is no accident that two of the Advent themes are light and hope.
In the church at this time of year we say or sing the Advent antiphons. An antiphon is a short verse that is used like a refrain, either repeated at points through another text or to begin and end it. Antiphons are often used in Christian worship, for example, during the singing of psalms. The Antiphon at the darkest point of the month of December is ‘O Oriens’, or ‘O Morning Star.’
The Morning Star in the Advent context is Jesus and like the physical Morning Star he comes symbolically to us, as a baby at darkest point in our year.
There is rich symbolism in this and if you are like me the dark mornings hard to bear, when I see that change in light I have hope as a new day begins. The light gives me a new perspective on the world as things look different in the light.
In our world there is darkness all around us. It may be the darkness of a sudden and terrible loss, the darkness of bewilderment and grief. The darkness of the economic situation or the darkness of war.
There is darkness all around us, but what the birth of the Morning Star says that darkness does not have the final word. What Christmas comes to tell us is that we do not have to live in the dark we do not have to succumb to dark forces, we can choose to live in the light.
Christ the morning Star gives us that glimmer of light that builds hope as a new day dawns. Christ the Morning Star walks with us through illness, through bereavement, through the challenging times in our lives.
Christ as the Morning Star is a picture of great promise and hope at Advent, Christmas and throughout the year.