December 23, 2013
Written by Steven Liechty

Quinn G. Caldwell

"The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it." - John 1:1-14

Sometimes all the light can get to be a bit much this time of year. Blinking lights, bubble lights, icicle lights, blue-light specials. What about those of us who like the dark sometimes? You know, who like to sit outside at night, who relish sitting in a dim bar sharing a drink with a friend, who appreciate a snuggle with the lights off?

For those of us living in modern industrialized societies, where everything is spotlighted or fluoresced to within an inch of its life, dimness can be hard to come by.

God shined bright when she entered the world…but it couldn't have happened without the holy darkness of Mary's womb. Without the darkness behind the closed eyelids of a laboring woman. Without the darkness of the space between a baby's skin and swaddle.

The Wise Men would never have been able to see that star if they'd been standing in the parking lot of a 24-hour Wal-Mart.

So tonight, in honor of the good darkness, the holy darkness, spend some time with the lights off for once. Put on some good music, or make some music of your own. Look out at the world, or just at the backs of your eyelids. Pray to be protected and nourished and formed by the God that swept over the face of the waters before there was light. Pray for the darkness to become like the Womb that bore the world. Pray for gestation. Pray for birth.


God, thank you for light and dark, bright and dim. Whether I am in shining or in shadow, let me show you to the world. Come, God, come. Amen.

About the Author
Quinn G. Caldwell is Pastor and Teacher at Plymouth Congregational Church, UCC, in Syracuse, New York, and co-editor, with Curtis J. Preston, of the Unofficial Handbook of the United Church of Christ, published by The Pilgrim Press.

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