“Will you hold the darkness with me this Advent?” was the question I posed to the members of Eremos’ monthly contemplative groups. Something about that invitation struck a chord within people. And when they discovered the invitation was to join me virtually and thus eliminate the stress of driving in Austin traffic, the response was overwhelmingly positive.
There is so much darkness in our world. The darkness of our political systems and the darkness of people’s lives blinded by impending death, floods, storms and tornados unleash devastation that wreaks havoc in our lives.
“Will you hold the darkness with me this Advent?”
It’s not a request that’s easy to say ‘yes’ to. So many of us are afraid of the darkness. We want to run away from the aloneness and powerlessness or vulnerability of the dark. We want to do something – anything to avoid its reality. (I found myself wanting to go light the first Advent candle!) We fear our own powerlessness to change anything. But how can the darkness change if we don’t respect its power and presence in our lives as reality?
Someone recently asked: “How do I pray holding the darkness? What do I ask God for? What am I supposed to do? It is so depressing I don’t want to just sit!” My response was ‘we sit’. As we do in times of light, we sit open and receptive to God. If within the darkness we are inspired to do something, then it is ours to do. But it is equally true that the quality of our presence is our response to God. Having touched the darkness and having been touched through the darkness maybe is ‘enough’.
It is Advent and Christians know where the story leads us. But the journey is in and through the darkness! Without this journey, all Christmas becomes is one more way to escape our full reality.
I lovingly ask you again, “Will you risk holding the darkness this Advent?”
Sit with me virtually in the space of your own home and your own time open to the inspiration within the wisdom the darkness of Advent holds.
Note: Each Tuesday evening in Advent (November 29th, December 6th, 13th, 20th), we gather virtually from 7pm to 8pm in the darkness of our own homes. Or, choose another time that works for you. Our spirits will connect whenever you intend to be with us. And, if you do not celebrate Advent or Christmas, we invite you to be present to the wisdom of the darkness however feels right to you.