The one who comes from above is above all things. The one who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all things. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever accepts his testimony confirms that God is true.—John 3:31-33
Today marks the advent of the Winter Solstice. It also marks the shortest day of the year. The day during which we will witness the least light. Even in this time of Advent, as we look forward to the coming of Christmas in celebrating through light, the light of a candle and the light that God brought into the world in Jesus Christ—even in the great symbolism that we attach to light in this season—a world without Jesus Christ to a world with Jesus Christ, granting us vision, symbolizing revelation and new life from a point of view of not knowing to a point of view of understanding—many churches hold blue Christmas services on the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, the day with the least amount of light. It allows members to come together to recognize how events in their lives, which have caused them a sense of grief or loss—the events in their lives, which interfere with their celebration of the joy of Christmas and which cause the celebrations of others to ring falsely in their own lives—cover some of their Advent in darkness. There may be darkness in your life.
Where I used to live, the city would put up blue lights over the town’s trees in its central square over Christmas. It set a sort of otherworldly and heavenly hue to our surroundings and a visual measure of coldness to match the winter weather. Color the darkness in your life blue.
In these events that cause us grief and loss, we may not see or know how God could ever be present in them or even question how God could have willed that they occur, if God truly loves us. As the Evangelist writes, the “one who comes from above is above all…He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.” (John 3:31, 32). It may be comforting to consider that the events that cause us grief and loss in our lives do not mark God’s willful nature working against us, but rather the darkness of life, which continues to defy God’s revelation. Try thinking of feelings of grief and loss today as blue light in your life. Consider them the ways that we yet do not fully understand God’s hand in our world or our lives. Consider them like a testimony that we cannot yet fully know or accept.
God of revelation and renewal, we pray that you will grant us the fortitude to persevere through areas of darkness in our life even amidst strong feelings of loss and grief. Enlighten even our darkness with faith in what is to come that we may accept and receive on earth what you have brought to us from above. Amen.
By: Rev. Philip Berger