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Going Dark: Weekly Message for 11-28-17
Dear Friends in Christ,
Advent and a new liturgical year begin this Sunday, and the Advent season is a good time to contemplate the moment when God “went dark.” Advent is filled with beautiful traditions representing joyous expectation: Advent calendars, wreaths, etc., but that joy flows from a darkness being overcome.
Have you ever wondered why Advent’s liturgical colors are the same as those of Lent? Advent is also a penitential time, a time remembering when mankind was lost in sin and God had “gone dark”: the last prophets of the Old Testament promised something to come, but then their voices ceased. Malachi was the last of the twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament, and the book of Malachi was probably written in the fifth century B.C. (Before Christ).
In the last of his prophecies he said to look toward the future for a “pure offering” that would rise to Heaven among the nations (Malachi 1:11), and the coming of a messenger like Elijah (3:1) would announce the Day of the Lord (4:5). Then the prophecies “went dark.” For the Israelites they settled in for the long haul, seeing the Day of the Lord as in a far, far future.
Little did they know that just five hundred years later (a bargain, considering their original estimates were the end of history) an angel would be sent to Zachariah and Mary and the rest is salvation history. Our Lord became that pure offering that we present in every celebration of the Eucharist, announced by his cousin John, a messenger like Elijah, and the Day of the Lord would never be seen the same way again.
Advent is a time for conversion, a time to ask ourselves if we, in our relationship with God, have “gone dark.” This time of year reminds us that with some of our loved ones the only contact we may have is one lonely little Christmas card. It’s time to change that. The light of Christ is not just meant to be one little light in a dark world, but the crack of dawn that blazes into a new and brighter day. With the coming of Christ the Lord will never “go dark” again, and neither should we.
Let’s all come out of the darkness this Advent season. We have a veritable cornucopia of Retreat Guides to help do that: The Christmas Apostle (just in time for this Advent), Do I Need a Savior?, The Hidden Treasures of Christmas, The Art of Waiting, Starlight, and You Matter.
May the light of Christ shine brighter and brighter for you this holiday season
Father Nikola Derpich, L.C.
author, Finding the Plug