1st Sunday Advent – Scared of the Dark?

Scared of the Dark

A news article last week talked about how light pollution around the world is killing plant life.  Might we be afraid of night?

You bet!  What’s about there?  Who’s out there who could harm me?  Leave the light on!  At least, in the northern hemisphere it’s the case that our days continue to grow shorter and night takes up more psychic space.  {Imagine what day/night is like in northern Alaska!!!)

Lights at night do keep us safe.  Concerns about safety & security are also taking up more and more psychic space: “Keep me and my stuff safe!  I have a gun and lots of lights!  Beware!”

Here is a perverse way to look at Christmas lights.  Don’t get me wrong.  I delight to see homes decorated with lights.  There’s a lot of creativity out there, right?  It’s great fun to tour the area looking at what folks have done with Christmas lights.

Back to this perverse way of considering them: they express a significant level of fear (in the northern hemisphere) of night… during Advent… when the night still grows longer… Christmas lights fend off our fears by distracting us from our fears.

Christmas lights mark the shopping season before the feast of the Nativity and are usually taken down during Christmas season.  Christmas parties mark the season of seeking connection and happiness under the real threat of disappointment and disconnection.

Not to be a Grinch…

But, what if… What if we sought ways to recognize Night as a character in the creche?  What if we honored our fear of night (or its stand-in) by sitting with it a bit each day asking to be shown our path to Bethlehem?

What if we said, “Happy Advent!” to everyone?  And recognize the illusions this consumer-approach to “celebrating Christmas” has outgrown its usefulness?

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