Week Three: Monday
As we seek the Light through the experience of joy this week, the ancient guide Paul of the Bible’s New Testament arrives with a message: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians chapter 4, verse 8). What words of light for us to heed in this shadowed time of year.
So many things appear dark right now, and yes, darkness yearns to draw us in. It is so easy, so effortless, to fill our minds with bleak thoughts, angry thoughts, hopeless thoughts, about all that is happening in our world. Darkness will never deny us entry; in fact, it longs for it. When my children were teenagers and the “slasher” movies like Halloween and the Friday the 13th series were all the rage, they wanted to go see them because all of their friend were going. I doubt they understood me when I told them no and said, “When you sit and watch that kind of stuff, you feed the darkness.” I still believe that. Darkness begets darkness. And so Paul shows us another way, a light-filled way. We are to notice and spend time with whatever is of the Light, in whatever moments reveal truth, nobility, purity, loveliness, and admiration.
In this winter season, we are invited, as so many prophets of different faiths proclaim, to “Wake up! Be alert!” to the beauty, the loveliness, the good, that is around us. In these last two weeks of Advent and beyond into the winter months, my hopeful intention is to be awake and to see with new eyes, to give attention to, that which is worthy. If darkness begets darkness, then beauty and loveliness and light beget themselves. Such light can be found in the simplest of things, if we are willing to look beyond the shadows. Blessings to you.
Let my prayer be the geese
whose honking rises
in raucous praise;
let it be the black-capped chickadee,
chitting in the bare limbs of the hickory,
the pin-points of light sprinkled
across the lake’s placid face
where fog rises like incense
around two fishermen, silent, somber
awaiting a gift from the depths
of the slow-awakening waters.
Let my prayer be my partner
settling himself with a holy sigh
on the porch chair near me,
the scent of his coffee a sacred aroma.
Let me say “yes” to the gray-striped tabby
curled in a glow of sun spot, the rise
and fall of his furred side
as rhythmic as chant.
Let my prayer be each tawny-tinged leaf
that releases itself
to settle on fallow ground
and let it be the waft of smoke
from a neighbor’s fire that drifts
like angels’ wings
through the screened windows.
Let my prayer arise
like this very silence
and be acceptable:
a worship without words.
© Rosemary McMahan