the most precious resource
on december 21
and on december 22
we exhale, assured
that today there is more of it
and tomorrow even more and
more after that,
until the world is
aflame with redemption.
These words of Jesus' came in the midst of a confusing time, a deciding time, in which those who had been hearing his teachings and believed him had to decide whether they valued their own convictions over the praise of men (Pharisees). His words are a statement of hope for those struggling to break out of the chrysalis of expectations their Jewish world had built around them.
Yet, only days later this hope appeared to end as Jesus died a criminal's death. But as we know, this end was not in fact the end, but a fulfillment; it was not just the death of Jesus but the death of death's ultimate power over humanity.
This story of hope is familiar to us, as are Jesus' words about light. But on the Saturday before the resurrection, it was not yet a story of hope. It was a story of darkness.
Often the story of our world seems like a story of darkness. In Advent, a season of waiting and longing in our chrysalis for the light to break through, the weather and the church calendar can appear to agree: the world is bleak and dark.
But December 21st, the winter solstice and darkest day of the year, is like the Saturday before the resurrection. Except unlike the disciples in the first century who weren't sure what the next day would hold, we know! Even when we don't see evidence of what is hoped for, the complete restoration and redemption of the world, we know Jesus has come - and so we hope and we wait for the light to increase. We bask in hope like the light of the sun, which we cannot create, but only behold and enjoy.
The light is coming, the light has come, the light is growing longer and brighter every day. Jesus is the light. He is coming, he has come, and he will come again. On literal and figurative winter solstices, let us remember he is still at work in the world. Let us be people who love the light, who live in the light, and anticipate the amplification of it.
BY SALLIE MCCANN
Sallie lives and works in Lancaster, Pa. She loves the natural world, reading, writing, walking, and her fiancé. Her undeniable passions are Mary Oliver, tea, and talking.