As we come toward the time of the winter solstice, we are reminded once again of the primal mystery of darkness and light, and the light being born in the darkness. As the longest night of the northern hemisphere approaches, what is the inner meaning of this turning from the darkness towards the light?
Every night we as Jews pause and note the setting of the sun and the onset of darkness. We are not afraid. We note the regularity of the sun cycle, the moon cycle, the seasonal cycle.
This moment is a celebration of the spiritual nature of life, and how within the heart and soul of each of us this divine light is waiting to be born, to come into consciousness, to come into our daily life.
And as many have experienced in their own life, this light is often born out of a time of darkness, of difficulties and suffering.
Anyone moved to turn inward into prayer, into their innermost heart, is drawn toward this mystery.
We know what it brings, how it can turn our life around in an instant, change what seemed impossible to be changed. We aspire to remain in this place of inner receptivity, this place of waiting in the darkness and longing that belong to the heart's prayer. We are both the darkness and the light, the sorrow and the joy. It is in the midst of the darkness that the light is born, that the longest night turns toward the sunrise.
Our greatest human heritage is this soul's drama of darkness and light, of the divine being born into our life. This is where our prayer takes us, where the heart's longing draws us.
Darkness is all around us and reported in the news.
The darkness of our post-industrial world is only too visible -- with its pollution and species depletion, and increasing ecocide.
It is not difficult to sense the sorrow of this present time, with growing inequality and global exploitation.
But what is the light waiting to be born?
Could it be an awareness of the sacred within creation and the deep knowing that we are all One -
one living planet full of wonder and mystery, not just a resource waiting to be consumed?
Could it be the simple awareness of the divine that is present within all of life, within every cell of creation?
We are easily drawn into our culture's endless consumption, its myth of progress and economic growth.
How should one respond to this darkness?
Yes, there is action to be done in the outer world, ways to respond to our collective self-destruction. We need to take responsibility for the well-being of our planet.
But for the one who is drawn inward into prayer there is an equally valuable work in holding a space for the divine.
Now is a time of potential of a reawakening to the knowing that all of creation is sacred.
The mystery of darkness and divine light belongs to each of us and to the world. We are the world waiting in the darkness and we are the light waiting to be born.
We need to be the prayer for the world in this time of darkness.