I always taint,
but this is stronger than I.
This dark sky,
is not the dark of my nightmares;
it is kind.
Sleepy, I let my eyes fall shut again.
And as I have done so many times before,
I waste this invitation
With the Divine.
Some of the best and worst things happen under cover of darkness. In the wee hours when much of our world is silent and distractions lose their steam, we are free to let our minds, bodies and spirits roam.
The shepherds watched the sky and the magi knew the signs. They studied the heavens and no doubt philosophized about the one who was to come. Still, no amount of knowledge or consensus put them any closer to the Messiah. They could only understand the idea of Jesus without really knowing him until they met him face to face. There is no substitution for proximity.
And for those whose minds and hearts were set against him, nighttime brought fear and paranoia of being dethroned, or of losing power to him. How Herod must have worn a pacing path around his bedroom as he schemed to prevent prophecy’s fulfillment. Nighttime offered him runaway obsession without a single speedbump.
In the silent, holy nights of Advent, we have opportunity to commune with the divine or indulge our fears over politics, war, or our neighbor. We can revel in the promise or stew in the disappointments life has no doubt dealt. We can even go to church or talk about this Messiah, but again…there is no substitution for proximity. We have the chance to meet him directly in the silent nights and enjoy his presence. We can talk to him instead of about him, we can worship instead of discuss theology, and we can pray rather than plan. And with this, he is pleased. And the angels watch in wonder at this kind of love.