Day 4: Brilliant: Why Let There Be Light?
Editor’s Note: For day 4 of our Advent series “The Day of Joy Drew Near,” DC Service Corps member Jennifer Eburuoh compares the image of light disrupting darkness to the Advent season and the mystery of Christ’s Incarnation.
Light can be a disturbance–even a nuisance. Many of us have experienced an interruption of sleep due to a bright light (even a ray of sunshine) entering our bedroom. Personally, I often find stepping into a dark room comforting after a long day. The darkness, as opposed to light, provides me an environment that allows me to settle my thoughts and to detach from my surroundings or concerns.
While seeking out darkness for sleep or rest are reasonable desires, I believe that there is something to observe spiritually in a habitual avoidance of light and preference for darkness. Light interrupts our sight, our familiarity with that which surrounds us. Hence, spiritually, we may build up a resistance to light out of fear of abandoning the norm or familiarity of the past.
I find it easy to experience the beginning of Advent simply as a disruption to a routine. Symbolically, the celebration of the coming of Christ can feel like an awkward taste of spring in the dead of winter. The season of Advent interrupts our celebration of the liturgy with a sudden change of liturgical texts and hymns. At the close of Ordinary Time, we are asked to shift our focus from readings which describe the final coming of Christ and our judgment before God, to the miracle of Christ’s entering into our human community.
If we take in these signs and shifts with an open heart, we can perceive the reality that the Incarnation reveals that Christ comes to disrupt. The Incarnation was ultimately a disruption in the course of human history, and enlightening of the darkness that our human family finds itself in due to sin. Christ made apparent the disruptive nature of his coming through his teaching when he told us that he came to “set the world on fire” (Luke 12:49). Ultimately, Advent invites us to ponder the brilliance that is the light Christ brings to the world. Advent calls us to ponder the presence of the humbled Christ who entered into our human story. The season is a reminder of the renewal of life that Christ constantly calls us to.
Our Lord presents us with a gentle invitation. We can choose to look beyond the dark Bethlehem night towards a deeper light. In practice, welcoming his brilliance into our lives this Advent could be an intentional striving to be a missionary of hope in our communities or to personally invite Christ to deepen our experience of his presence, the fulfillment of his promise to be God-with-us. May we this Advent strive to welcome the brilliance of Christ’s coming more deeply into our lives.
Questions for Reflection: Are there moments in your life when you cling to darkness as opposed to light? How can you welcome Christ into these moments?