by Pastor Kathy Hawks
I remember long, mid-western winters in my childhood, looking out onto the frozen white from my bedroom at night. The snow and dark were beautiful and serene.
But, this year? Winter is just SO tiring! Doesn’t it take extra energy just to keep your spirits up and keep going?
At Christmas, we celebrate Christ’s light that has come into our deepest darkness. But this gloomy, tiresome winter isn’t over. Not by a long shot. And Easter is a long way off. So, for the six weeks of Epiphany we will watch Christ’s light spreading across the globe, like sunlight increasing each day.
Our Epiphany theme, Light Dawns on a Weary World, appeals to me because it promises our “weary world” won’t always be that way. It’s the title of a hymn which begins:
Light dawns on a weary world
when eyes begin to see
all people’s dignity.
Light dawns on a weary world:
the promised day of justice comes.
The dance-able chorus ends:
We shall go out in joy, and be led forth in peace,
As all the world in wonder echoes shalom.
While in the hymnal, I flipped to Marty Haugen’s beloved Holden Evening Prayer Service, which starts:
Joyous light of heav’nly glory,
loving glow of God’s own face,
You who sing creation’s story,
shine on ev’ry land and race.
Now as evening falls around us,
we shall raise our songs to you.
God of daybreak, God of shadows,
come and light our hearts anew.
V. 2 continues:
In the stars that grace the darkness,
in the blazing sun of dawn,
In the light of peace and wisdom,
we can hear your quiet song.
Love that fills the night with wonder,
love that warms the weary soul,
Love that bursts all chains asunder
set us free and make us whole.
Haugen obviously likes light as a sign of God’s comfort and hope. While he was up at Holden, he heard about the crash of the Challenger spacecraft, and he wrote “Healer of Our Ev’ry Ill”, to express both grief and hope:
Healer of our ev’ry ill, light of each tomorrow,
Give us peace beyond our fear,
and hope beyond our sorrow.
Reading these lyrics, my spirit feels calmer and less cranky about the gray months ahead. I think I’ll return to my hymnbook in the weeks ahead, and you might want to try hymns for inspiration, too.
In the meantime, receive this blessing from the last lines of “Joyous Light”:
Mighty God of all creation,
Gentle Christ who lights our way,
Loving Spirit of salvation,
Lead us on to endless day.
May it be so for you!