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Friday, January 4, 2013

The Sun’s Request: Bring the LIGHT!

by Lauren Van Ham

Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!  Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings, Ris’n with healing in His wings.

- Charles Wesley, 1739
Just ten days ago, those of us in the Northern Hemisphere passed through the shortest day of the year, December 21st, the Winter Solstice.   I am moved by the stories that describe this season in ancient times; how the First Humans took note of the autumnal days, each one being incrementally drained of its light, and how the people responded – with prayer and nightly ritual, singing and dancing, beseeching the sun’s return.  And I am moved by how, centuries later, our rituals continue; with Advent calendars, carols, prayers and candles, we call the sun back, we celebrate the Son’s arrival. 

And this year was the same: Christmas Happened!  Each and every day, the sun lingers for a few minutes longer before continuing its round journey.  How amazing is that, really?  Be amazed!! 

Reflecting on Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany about to begin, I see an invitation, a request, really.  Shared in scripture and enacted so visibly in the sun’s daily round, we are asked to bring the light,

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.
- Colossians 3:16 (NRSV)

As this New Year dawns, where do you wish to bring light?  And -- recalling that darkness can be a somewhat overwhelming place -- who’s coming with you? Our efforts to bring light need not be solo acts!  Often, they’re made simpler (and brighter!) when augmented by the solidarity, support and insight of others.  Bring Light!  Shine your Light!  Happy New Year!

About Lauren: Lauren is an interfaith minister and lives in Berkeley, CA.  She serves as the Dean of Interfaith Studies at The Chaplaincy Institute and tends a private Spiritual Direction practice.  You can read Lauren’s blog at: http://www.laurenvanham.com/

1 comment:

  1. Years ago I belonged to a sacred womans circle. Our teacher, June La Grand, taught us of the seven sacred rights of the Lakota. We would gather for Winter Solstice on the 21st, and enter the hosts home in darkness. After opening song and prayer ,we would each light a candle and talk about the direction of the West. The place of darkness, death, dreaming, introspection, the place of the bear. we would sing more acred songs and drumming and end the evening in a give-away, bringing a present to go to another womqn in the circle. Then of course potluck. Some very special memories of that time and how this indigenoous practice brought me in touch with the seasons on a deeper, more present awareness. "for every season there is a time" I found this especially helpful later on in the journey as I entered times of exile and homecoming with more acceptance.