I’d like to begin this week with the song, To Know Darkness, beautifully written by Orin and included on our 2007 album, Walk Away Different. Take a moment to listen to the song. I’ve included the lyrics here as well…
God our Father, we long to see you as you are.
If we seek you in the heavens, in stars in the sky, you are there.
Lights of our own creation may keep us from knowing Your presence above.
God, our Father, help us to know darkness so that we may see your light.
O Christ Jesus, we long to see you face to face.
If we seek you in each person, in each human heart you are there.
Lights of our own creation may keep us from knowing your presence below,
O Christ Jesus, help us to know darkness so that we may see your light.
Holy Spirit, we long to see you in our lives.
If we seek you in our being, in each living soul you are there.
Lights of our own creation may keep us from knowing your presence within.
Holy Spirit, help us to know darkness so that we may see your light.
Words and Music by Orin Johnson. © 2008, GIA Publications, Inc.
After praying together the Lord’s Prayer at each Mass, the presider offers a prayer that includes the words, “as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.” As you know, Advent is a time of waiting, but the word “advent” comes from the Latin word meaning “coming”. We are waiting for Jesus, yes, but we do so fully aware that He is coming. While that last sentence probably sounded funny, I know most of us get caught taking words and rituals we pray for granted, occasionally forgetting that they hold real meaning for our lives. We have to stay awake! Jesus’s return could be at any time and we must be ready. That isn’t to say that we should downplay annually celebrating the birth of Jesus. Our God, incarnate? Amazing! What a reason to party!! We simply need to also keep in mind that Advent preparations need to ready us for life after December 25th, too.
In thinking about all of this today, I was struck by the lyrics of To Know Darkness. While I do ‘long’ not only for Jesus to be an integral part of my life, and ultimately for me to be in Christ’s presence for eternity, I don’t do as much as I should to prepare for those things to become reality. Between family obligations, work expectations, social engagements, work with Oddwalk, social media, and lots of other distractions, I have quite a few ‘lights of our (my) own creation’ that can potentially wash out the light of Christ for me.
I need to remember that regularly removing myself (even briefly) from the glare of those Shannon-made lights, and retreating to the ‘darkness’ of solitude and reflection, will help my vision readjust. Spending more time in prayer, going to confession, taking time to read the bible, (especially those passages we hear often in Advent) will help my eyes of faith reset. Maybe those things can help your eyes as well.
‘O Christ Jesus, help us to know darkness so that we may see your light.’