As the dark awaits the dawn, so we await your light. O star of promise, scatter night, loving bright, loving bright, till shades of fear are gone. -ELW 261

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” -Yoda

Advent has always been a special season for me. I enjoy the anticipation of waiting for the birth of Christ each and every year. When I was in college, Advent began with the Annual Advent Vespers services. Hearing the stories and sharing the music brought focus to the end of a busy semester. There was a time when Advent felt like a respite: a time to refocus and reenergize and begin anew. The church year begins anew but it is easy to miss with all of the other things that are going on in our lives at this time of year.

There is much fear in our world today. The suicide bombings play its part, the tension in and around Syria and the many refugees fleeing the area plays its part, the racial tension that is rising in our nation plays its part and the media most certainly plays a part as well. I included Yoda’s quote from the Empire Strikes Back, because Yoda speaks the truth. Fear can cause us to do many things that otherwise would seem impossible. Fear is a path to darkness.

As children of God, we have an alternative message. This message is not filled with fear but instead is filled with hope. “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.’” (Luke 2:10-11)

It is a simple message that has been shared for over 2000 years and it is a message of hope. The darkness does not win because it is replaced with the light of the world. The hymn above says this in a compelling way. The darkness is not simply replaced by the light, instead “the dark awaits the dawn.” We may know people who seem consumed by darkness but we believe that they too yearn for the light. And we know, and we proclaim, “that the light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it.”

May our Advent journey focus us anew and may we all walk as children of the light and share the good news that Jesus is born. Fear is vanquished; hope is renewed; love is incarnate.

God’s Peace,
Pastor Steve