It’s so easy to speak about longing for light during Advent. When I don’t ponder more deeply about it, there is something even pretty “feel good” about it. Who in darkness wouldn’t want the light? There is something wonderfully comforting about the image of light coming into darkness. When we read the Old Testament prophecies, we are reminded of the Israelites who longed for the coming of the Messiah for generations. We think of a people in slavery longing for a saviour. It is all nice and good… isn’t it?
Then I pondered more deeply and I thought of the welcome that Christ received when He did come. And I thought of the promise he made to this disciples that they too will be persecuted. I think of the Israelites who grumble and curse after having been freed from slavery in Egypt because they were hungry and wandering in the desert. And I imagine how a person who has been trapped underground for some time must feel when he steps out into the sunlight.
The truth of the matter is that though we long for light, we are rarely ready to welcome it when it arrives into the darkness of our lives. We don’t even recognise it! We find it obnoxious and intrusive. We find that it disturbs our peace. We would rather make it go away so that we can go about our lives as we wish. So it is that oftentimes when Christ tries to enter our hearts, we shut him out and push him away, even while we confess with our lips that we want him.
The Israelites did not recognise their Messiah because they had looked for him in their own image. They were waiting for someone who would help them impose their might and will upon their enemies and thus failed to recognise the One who invited them to be meek and gentle and love their enemies. And here I am so many generations later, longing for a God who will be all that I want him to be and finding instead a God who comes to humble me and empty my ego.
Love. Light. I am learning more and more that I know not what these are. But I am ready, I hope, to let God teach me, even though I am sure that I will give him a hard time of it!