Darkness Shall Not Prevail

Posted by on December 29, 2020 in Archives, TEC_News | Comments Off on Darkness Shall Not Prevail

Darkness Shall Not Prevail

From Nancy Young, National President

Advent is a time of waiting and expectation, a time when we look forward to Christmas Day and the celebration of Christ’s birth—a time when we anticipate being with family and celebrating with friends, of gathering in a beautifully decorated church, of enjoying glorious music, and of sharing Eucharist. This year, however, for many of us, the Christmas season has been a dark time, a time of struggle, of loss, of loneliness, and of grief. Daily we hear the names of nurses, doctors, teachers, celebrities, friends who have died from COVID-19 or its complications. Some of us have lost family members. Television news shows us adult children pressed against assisted living windows straining for connection with their aged parents, and nurses in ICU units holding iPads so patients do not die without hearing a final goodbye from their families.

Christmas Day this year will be very different. Many churches are closed or open for only very limited worshipers. Most people will participate in church services through ZOOM or You Tube. The CDC has recommended that the holiday be celebrated only with those family members that live together every day. The first Christmas was also a dark and turbulent time, but through the darkness Mary and Joseph were led to a safe place for Jesus to be born, the frightened shepherds were encouraged by singing angels, “ Do not be afraid for behold I bring you tidings of great joy,” and the Magi were led through the dark along an unknown path to find the Messiah. Fear not. Trust in the Lord. Draw near and. . . How do we do that? It is in times like these that we most need to hold on to God’s promises, to remember that we are not going through this alone. Spending more time with scripture helps to quiet the fears. I find Isaiah’s descriptions of God’s loving care for us and of the savior to come particularly comforting. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shown. . .For to us a child is born, to us a son is given . . .His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:2, 6) “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

God also speaks to us through nature. The psalmist assures us, “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of His hands, day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they display knowledge.” (Psalm 19) Observing the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn (forming the “Christmas Star”) in the December sky this year fills me with wonder and awe. Outdoor walks with my little dog Harley fill me with gratitude for the beauty of God’s creation and remind me of His care, for he cares even for “ the birds of the sky” who “ neither sow nor reap.”

Time in prayer, time listening to Christmas carols, and time reaching out to others through notes, emails, and phone calls also give a quiet assurance that God is with us. God’s actions in times past and God’s promises for the future give us hope. For in the Incarnation, as John writes, “What has come into being in Him was life and the life was the light of all people, the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:3-5) May we open our hearts, letting the healing light of Christ fill our emptiness and flow through us to those around us. “For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”

Shalom.
Nancy Young, National President
The Episcopal Community

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