When trapped in the gap between the light we long for and the shadows that surround us, the space to be open and honest about how that feels is a gift from God. It is in such spaces that we receive permission to be real, and the comfort of which Isaiah speaks.
What is true in life is especially true in this season: the gap between the light of Christmas joy and the shadows cast by our realities can be wide. How hard it can be to partake fully in the joy of this season when we are lamenting joys that have been lost, when our joys remain unfulfilled, and especially when we witness them being experienced by others.
In the space labeled sermon on Sunday more will be offered about the darkness and shadows the Israelites were experiencing when Isaiah offered God’s word to them. For now, let me offer this: in the depths of their despair God did not question their pain, or send judgment about its validity. God offered them words of comfort to sustain them in light of their darkness.
And so it is for us. When the joys we hope for are not yet realized, or when the joys we once experienced are no longer real, is when God is most present and attentive. It is in response to the darkness that the Advent train delivers us to a stable in Bethlehem.
Later in the day on Sunday we will gather in our worship space a second time for a service of solace. In that space our time will honor the gap between the light of this season and the shadows in our lives. Any and all who are living in this gap in this season for any reason are welcome to come and receive the light of God’s comfort for any darkness, and all shadows.