Ironically, the place of greatest darkness is fear and apathy. That place sits just outside the very place where we meet the opportunity to go into the depth of our souls, examining the darkness of past or present. For it is only in this examination that we are able to find real light--a light that allows us to walk with others, in a wide variety of circumstances, as they find the courage to go into the depths of their own souls.
"Men love darkness rather than light" the scripture says. I now understand this on a deeper level than I ever did. Our human tendency is to love the common darkness of fear and apathy, rather than walking in the uncommon light of courage and compassion.
It is the uncommon journey, however, that takes us to greater and greater heights so that we can see the blend of the darkness and the light in the threads of our own life, as well as in the larger world. Seeing it all in full view and still smiling through our tears. Not a smile of common happiness, but one of immense joy that comes as we learn to rest with the questions and be comfortable with the ambiguity.
That, to me, is the meaning of a real Christmas.