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the land of gloom and deep darkness Job 10:21

What a time this is all around God’s created earth! things not only fall apart, there are streaks of cruelty and violence that are all too visible and audible to all of us across the globe! Darkness of Advent indeed!

So it is a prophetic act I do this week of lighting the candle, not just another Advent candle, but the pink one, the gentle one, that calls us to remember the prophet, Mary, mother of Jesus! It is difficult to separate who she was from all the traditions that have grown up around her over the centuries. Yet from sacred text we can know a few things about her that make her that prophet that she is. She, much more than we, lived in a time of terror and violence all round. She lived in an occupied land, in thrall to the Roman Empire whose modus operandi was terror and violence. She lived without those safety nets in the society, which I, as a white woman of privilege, take for granted–education, insurance, public safety. The challenge that was given to her for her choice by the angel Gabriel was one of great risk. To bear a child was in itself was a risk. To do it unmarried was to risk all kinds of un-peace. And to carry the freight of the angel’s charge–to carry the Son of the Most High–would be enormously daunting! Yet she said yes, not loudly or triumphantly, but with courage and faith.

And so we light our pink candles, gentle, courageous, faithful witnesses to our belief that the violent, oppressive darkness will not overcome the Light! It is very easy to be overwhelmed by the report of violence and oppression in the world. From Washington D.C. to Myanmar to Honduras to the Boko Haram, people are doing egregious harm to other beings made in the image of God. Systems seem to be corrupt and fueled by untruths. Yet with each candle lit, I remember that “the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:5.

In this third week of Advent I am called to light my gentle light as a witness to that Light that cannot be overcome. It was my joy to hear Sister Joan Chittister this past week call all of us the faith community to speak up for love, justice and peace against the roaring clouds of venality and willful harm and thoughtless cruelty, in the public sphere, in the Church and in the places where we live–calling out violent words, oppressive actions and willful ignorance. She says, following the Prophet Jesus, raised by the Prophet Mary, that in doing this, we will be living prophetic lives of love and laughter! I hope to so this, out of the darkness of Advent!