“I will not allow the light
of my life to be determined
by the darkness around me.”
These words were spoken by Sojourner Truth, a suffragette and fighter for women’s rights during and after slavery time. While I cannot know precisely the scope and nuance of her personal experience nor the full meaning behind her words, I find her historical statement to be a powerful proclamation given our current challenges of record-setting case counts, hospitalizations, deaths, and continued separation. Especially in the season of Advent.
Over the last few days several people have shared, in the midst of other topics of conversation, how sick and tired they are of all of this: how much they miss gathering with friends and family, how they grieve not worshipping together, especially on Christmas eve. Their words represent our broader experience - we all feel that way - we all feel the weight of the darkness around us.
I've also heard it said more than once that there is now light on the horizon because vaccines are part of the story of the spring that is to come. That is true and certainly extremely good news! Some of you will likely get that opportunity earlier in 2021 than others of us, but it is coming!
However, Advent beckons us to see the Light NOW - as it shines in the darkness. We are invited not just to hope in Advent, but to claim Joy! We are to be filled with and embody Love, even when there are others who choose fear and its offspring hatred.
I'm no Sojourner Truth, but in your Christmas Eve Bags you will find a statement of my own. It was prayerfully penned as I tried to find the right combination of "Christmas card worthy" words that would reflect the Spirit of Advent against the backdrop of lingering darkness and ongoing separation. These are the words that found me; I offer them to you:
From the church house to your house,
Christ is born anew wherever love abides.
Sojourner's words inspire me and fill my heart today. While I cannot know exactly what they meant for her, for me they mean that I still get to have my laughter, my sassiness, my thinking, my hope, my joy, my love of people. I get to have all of that no matter how ugly things look.
Choosing to have joy is an act of resistance; join me, my sisters and brothers, let us resist! Be sure to email or call Deanna so that we can prepare a Christmas Eve Bag for you and yours. I will not allow the light of my life to be determined by the darkness around me. Together we choose Joy!
With love and grace,
aka "The Vicar"