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Darkness to Light

Posted Dec 09 2012 8:43am
The Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada

The Christmas tree is up and the Nacimiento adorns the back of the piano. I play the songs in the carol book and listen to seasonal tunes as I drive here and there in my car. Gifts are bought and baking is done. I watch Christmas movies as I pedal the stationary bicycle. I am not a “Christmas is my favourite time of year” person, yet the “Christmas spirit”, whatever that is, completely eludes me this year as I go through the usual motions and routines. I am happy and content, yet indifferent to the season.


Perhaps the commercialization and politicalization of Christmas has brought me to the edge. People bicker over holiday trees, seasons greetings, and whether the whole country celebrates December in a uniform Christian way. After all, the roots of our holiday celebration are pagan. I truly think Jesus would decline an invitation to most of our seasonal events. “Jesus is the reason for the season” just does not ring true in my ears. 


We visited our daughter in Ottawa this week and enjoyed the city very much. On Thursday we attended the Christmas Lights Across Canada celebration on Parliament Hill. Standing in the cold darkness we waited for the promised hundreds of thousands of  lights to be turned on in the downtown area. Carols were sung, greetings from across the country broadcast and then the countdown to the light began. I wasn’t expecting fireworks and the sudden brightness startled me and others in the crowd. 


The night was still dark and cold but the lights shone on the hill. Advent is not a time of celebration, but a time of waiting and yearning for the promised light. We contemplate the darkness in our world and in our lives and wait for the Saviour who illuminates the path to eternal peace and joy.


Veiled in Darkness Judah Lay
Veiled in darkness Judah lay,Waiting for the promised day,While across the shadowy nightStreamed a flood of glorious light,Heav’nly voices chanting then,“Peace on earth, good will to men.”
Still the earth in darkness lies.Up from death’s dark vale ariseVoices of a world in grief,Prayers of men who seek relief:Now our darkness pierce again,“Peace on earth, good will to men.”
Light of light, we humbly pray,Shine upon Thy world today;Break the gloom of our dark night,Fill our souls with love and light,Send Thy blessed Word again,“Peace on earth, good will to men.”

Douglas L. Rights
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