ADVENT 2022: A SEASON OF REMEMBRANCE AND RESTORATION – 12/21/2022
December 19, 2022
The Salvation of God
(Rev. Dr. Allison Tanner is Pastor for Public Witness, Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, Oakland, CA)
John 1:1-14 (NRSVUE)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being
4 in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it.
6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9 The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
Darkness is a many-splendid phenomenon. It can signal rest, comfort, peace, opportunity for growth, and space for creativity. I love to sit in darkness and quiet my soul, steady my thoughts and open myself to stillness. Darkness can also be the perfect backdrop for lighting candles, creating a compelling stage for flames to dance and illuminate a room. I love to find myself memorized by the enchanting glow of a fire, feeling the wonder of embers dancing in delight. For the artist, darkness is stunning beauty; the embrace of all the colors joined together.
In today’s Scripture, darkness is a powerful counterpart to light – Jesus being the light of the world. It’s a reminder that in addition to the beauty of darkness – there is also beauty in life-giving light – especially as the light of life contrasts a world filled with the ways of death. Jesus is identified as the “true light” (not all light is life-giving) – a light that brings enlightenment, insight, and wisdom.
On this darkest of days of 2022, I find myself both celebrating the darkness of the day as well as preparing to open myself to the coming of light – especially the coming of the life-giving light of love. In the womb of wisdom, I give thanks for seasons of darkness and light.
For those who eagerly await the coming of growing light, I offer this poem written by my friend Charles Joseph:
To the light we walk
to be enlightened
or just to lighten
looking for cures from things that frighten
fists clenched and jaw tightened
waiting for wisdom to ripen
maybe it’s a sight thing
blinding bright light thing
or just tired of what’s inside
hoping darkness will subside
hoping it will suffice
bringing an end to strife
hurt memories and pains of life.