by Adam Sloter
Special to The Leaven
The season of Advent is like journeying through a very dark tunnel. At the end of this tunnel is a brilliant light. Each day of Advent, we move forward through this dark space, watching closely as the light becomes brighter. We have not yet reached the light. We are still surrounded by darkness, but the light that shines before us gives us the strength and courage to take each step.
At the end of the tunnel, we will find the Christ Child, the most miraculous light to have ever shined upon Earth. But here in Advent, we have not yet arrived at the manger. We are still moving ahead, praying that the darkness will not prevent us from beholding the incarnate Lord. We still have a long way to go.
The yearly season of Advent may conclude at Christmas, but the journey of life is still dark and difficult, full of uncertainty. The world around us often seems shadowy and filled with things that want us to stray from the right path.
But the gift of the incarnation, Christ’s first coming, is that he gives us a shining lamp that helps us during the difficult seasons of life. Carrying the light of Christ throughout our earthly pilgrimage is the ultimate source of comfort. This light gives us the confidence to navigate the trials that will inevitably come our way.
There is still so much sorrow and hardship ahead of us, but we no longer have to walk through this life in darkness, hoping to one day behold the light. Christ’s incarnation is a reminder that the light has already entered the world and nothing can overcome it. We can now bear this lamp and expel the darkness that wants us to stumble. We move forward clinging to the hope that Christ will come again soon to restore all things and banish the darkness once and for all.
There may be people in your life who walk in complete darkness. As witnesses to Christ’s Gospel, it is our responsibility to share the light with those who need it most. The lamp we carry can illuminate the path for others who are lost and in need of direction. We can strengthen those around us to travel toward the light in the distance, knowing that the Incarnation shines brightly and cannot be extinguished by even the darkest night.
It is my prayer that, during this season of Advent, you will wrestle with the darkness and have great courage knowing that the light of Christ will always prevail.
So, here we are in this dark season. Use this time for reflection, for setting things right within yourself, for seeking reconciliation. Take time this Advent to really dwell within the darkness.
Don’t rush ahead and cling to Christmas. Let this season of longing and expectation shape you into a divine image bearer. Hold fast to the lamp Christ has given you.
With this gift you don’t need to run from the darkness because it cannot touch you. Pursue this light, bear this light and let it shine brightly in this dark and fallen world.
Adam Sloter is the director of parish relations at Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri, and the author of a guide to Advent.