|Published by Rev'd Tif Ewins on Fri, 20 Dec 2019 10:50|
At this time of year, when we celebrate light coming into the world, I would like us consider two ideas.
1.We need to know about, call out and name darkness in order to welcome and value the light
2. Love can never run out because it multiples, it does not divide
When I was pregnant with my second child, I had a pregnant woman’s panic and phoned my mother. I said to her, “I don’t know what I am going to do. I love my son so much, how will I possibly be able to love another baby? I just cannot imagine that I have that much love in me.”
And my mother, herself a mother of four, said to me, “You’ve misunderstood love. Love doesn’t divide, love multiplies.”
She was right, of course, and I adored my new baby from the moment I saw her. And the next one and the one after that! Because love doesn’t divide, it multiplies.
More of love in a moment because I want to start with darkness and remind you that the darkness is creepy.
Now this does not sound very jolly or very all age, but if we don’t recognise the problem of darkness then Christmas is as meaningless as a gift-wrapped empty cardboard box. Its fun for a toddler for a while, but ultimately of no value.
So darkness is creepy. I don’t really mean creepy like a scary movie or walking through a graveyard, but darkness is that too of course. I mean darkness is creepy as in it creeps up on us.
Like the story of the frog put into a pan of water who swims perfectly happily not realising the there is a fire under the pan and that the water is getting hotter and hotter until it is too late.
That’s what I mean about the darkness being creepy. It creeps up on us and sometimes we don’t realise it until we are in the pitch black.
How does creepy darkness work? Well it might be like this: A few people get it into their heads to say unkind stuff about you, or to post rubbish about you. At first you shrug it off. Then you avoid those people, then you end up having lunch at school alone and then you realise that you have begun to believe what they said, and you don’t like yourself. The darkness has crept in.
Or creepy darkness works like this; for so long you have been hoping for a better outcome. That recognition, that promotion, that exam result, that pay rise, that job, that relationship, that baby and it is not coming. You waited and waited, and only recently did you realise that you had given up hope. You no longer have any expectation that anything will ever change, and you are have lost hope. The darkness has crept in.
Maybe it’s like this, you trusted someone, you trusted God, and nothing turned out as you expected. Illness did come, divorce happened, you are living in grief, and despite the cheerfulness you display, trust and faith have gone too. That darkness crept in moment by moment.
This creepy creeping darkness happens in whole communities, countries and civilisations too. First the misinformation, then the alienation and isolation of certain groups and finally the persecution, and we never see it coming. Creepy darkness can overtake whole nations.
Until we are all in the dark.
But God refuses to leave us here.
God sends light into the world. This light is not the general sun in the sky light, but this is the light that embodies faith, hope and love. This is the light of God Himself being given to the people in darkness. And as God gives light, pours, lavishes God’s love into a world of darkness, it does not diminish God one bit.
God sends light and remains fully God. God sends love and remains fully God. God sends Jesus and remains fully God.
The light we are offered has power over the darkness, darkness cannot overcome light. The light we are offered we are to offer to others knowing that in giving it away, it does not diminish what we hold but simply beats back the creepy darkness even further.
The light that we are offered can easily be rejected – it is not forced upon us by a dictator God but held out to us by an along-side-us in the struggle God, light in a dark stable.
So let me commend the carol 'O Come all Ye Faithful' and it's second verse which starts, “God from God, light from light” remembering that this only makes sense if we recognise the creepy darkness for what it is and so realise that we need light. That is God and God’s gifts of faith, hope and love, all symbolised by light, which can only multiply as we accept the offer to us and hold it out to others.