Advent is a time when we look forward to the coming of salvation. We light candles that glimmer with a faint light as if we are seeing the “light of the world” from a far off distance. We recognize that before the coming of Jesus the world was truly in darkness. We must not too soon skip over the concept of darkness and immediately look forward to the coming of the Christ child. We must wait patiently in this darkness. The years prior to the coming of Jesus had been a dark and quiet period of waiting. Waiting for the Lord. God was not sending prophets and few miracles were occurring. It was the calm, quiet, darkness before the brilliant light that was about to flood the world.
In nature, in the northern hemisphere, trees and plants lie dormant through the bleak mid-winter awaiting the coming of light and spring. There is no fruit; there is an appearance of death. But look at the ends of the branches and you will see the new buds preparing to burst in spring. There is hope; there is life; spring will come again; but for now we must wait. We must wait in the darkness, accepting the dark night of the soul, the barrenness of winter, and the winter of our spiritual life. Only by hanging in the moment of this darkness will we appreciate the brilliance of the light. Advent is a season that cries out, “Wait, wait for it.” Let the moment build to a heightened expectancy. We must wait so that we might truly appreciate light and life.
Dorothy L. Sayers, speaking of the “Word becoming flesh,” says, “. . . from the beginning of time until now it is the only thing that has ever really happened . . . We may call this doctrine exhilarating or we may call it devastating, we may call it revelation or we may call it rubbish . . . but if we call it dull then what in heaven’s name is worthy to be called exciting?”*
In this season of Advent we look with expectancy to this “only thing that has ever happened.” He is near, but, at this very moment we wait . . . and wait . . . and wait . . . in darkness and barrenness.
*Sayers, Dorothy L. Creed or Chaos? Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1949, p. 5, 7.