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Lighting up the Dark

posted Dec 15, 2015, 2:56 PM by Gary Walpole   [ updated Dec 15, 2015, 2:58 PM ]

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.”

Hebrew Prophet Isaiah

We are coming to the darkest part of the year in the northern hemisphere. People living in Minnesota are leaving for work in the dark and coming home in the dark. We turn on the lights around 4 pm to keep away the dark.

On Advent Sundays, Christians light candles and on Christmas, Christians celebrate the Light of Life coming into a world that darkness cannot overcome. But we are not the only people who celebrate Light in the midst of darkness.

Hindus all over the world, celebrate Diwali, a festival of lights that is as big as Christmas is for Christians. The Diwali Festival symbolizes the victory of good over evil. Besides Hinduism, it is considered a significant festival to Sikhs and Buddhists.

Jews worldwide light candles on the eight nights of Hanukkah.

Many Americans of African descent celebrate Kwanzaa; a weeklong celebration were seven candles are lite. One black candle for the African people, three red candles for their civil rights struggle and three green candles for the future and hope that comes through the struggle.

Living in the Darkness

We hold in the presence of Love the people of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis who occupied the 4th Precinct Police Station and elected leaders trying to bring Truth to light following the shooting of Jamar Clark. We hold in the presence of Love the political and business leaders who met in Paris at the United Nations Climate Change Conference developing the 2015 Global Climate Change Agreement and the climate activist who warn the agreement will not meet the desired effect of keeping the world below 2 degrees of warming. We hold in the presence of Love refugees around the world fleeing nations and regions of violence and those who too easily turn to violence as a means to resolve conflict. These are not separate issues; they are deeply interconnected with the themes of darkness and light, truth and justice, violence and non-violence.

How can a people of faith live in the darkness by celebrating the Light?

Dancing in the Dark

Rev. Dr. Otis Mott III, Pastor of President Barak Obama’s home church Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, writes in the November 25th issue of The Christian Century:

A little girl about six years old taught me a wonderful lesson. My predecessor had been unfairly lifted up and attacked in the media because a person who’d been kissed by nature’s sun was running for the presidency. As a result. . .  There were a hundred death threats every week.

The stress was so painful that it was very difficult to sleep at night. One night I was half asleep and heard a noise in the house. My wife punched me and said, “You go check that out.” …I looked downstairs, and then I heard the noise again. I made my way back upstairs and peaked in my daughter’s room. There was my daughter Makayla dancing in the darkness—just spinning around, saying “Look at me, Daddy.”

I said, “Makayla, you need to go to bed.”

But she said, “No, look at me, Daddy. Look at me.”

We listen for the rhythms of peace, hope, truth, justice and joy that Malayla heard, join her life affirming, spinning dance and lite up the night.

Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty sings her song“ Dancing in the Dark” in the movie “Home.”

(Come On) I wanna dance in the dark,

(Come On) We gonna light up the night,

Underdogs dance in the middle of the night.

Do not let the darkness find its way in you. This is the perfect time of the year to dance in the dark and lite up the night!