“Treasures of Darkness” illustration by Gary Gaede

Advent Day 19 – Thursday, December 20

Recently, I have found myself struggling more with the light of day than any darkness. A morning sunrise is a thing of beauty, but it also reminds me of the hectic commotion which awaits. Appointments, errands, meetings, and the constant glaring reminders of a world often moving too fast to keep up with. I find myself longing for day’s end and the quiet of evening.

Evening does not translate into calm, however. Much of life’s chaos has found a way to spill past what I’d hoped would be a calming sunset. At a minimum, the dark of night pulls in thoughts of preparation for the upcoming day and the next sequence of worries and races.

But the darkness is where I find my reminders to slow down. A twinkling star while sitting on a porch. A flickering firelight shared with a neighbor around a fire pit. Even enjoying the darkness of any early morning and catching that glimpse of sunrise peeking through can serve as a spiritual charge, better preparing me to face the day.

Only in the darkness am I reminded how the right kinds of lights can have such uplifting powers. It is when the church lights are finally dimmed to darkness on Christmas Eve that the communal glow of candles lit from the Christ Candle shine bright. My favorite light of the season.

“Where is he who has been born king of Jews? For we have seen his star in the east and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2

Heavenly Creator—help me find calm in the darkness, so that my spirit may be renewed after hectic days. Help me focus on the quite lights you provide. Help me use them to focus on the priorities you have for me. Amen.

—Chad Mickelson