The other day I was up until midnight, only to discover that it was only 6:00 p.m. I don’t like how the darkness takes over at such an early time. I don’t think that it is a coincidence that the season of Advent takes place during the darkest time of the year. While there is a lot of excitement as Christmas approaches, this time of darkness is representative of the darkness we encounter in the world. During Advent, we acknowledge that we are “people walking in darkness.” Just as the darkness of December is real right now, the darkness we experience in our lives and the world is just as tangible.
The time between the Prophets in the Old Testament and the birth of Jesus is called the inter-testimonial period. This time was a 400-year period where there were no recorded prophets. The people did not hear the Word of God. God was silent. The Temple, the center of their community life and faith, was destroyed. Israel went from captivity in Babylon and occupation by the Persians and Romans. The nation lived in sin and had turned their collective back on God. Darkness filled the land.
Advent is a time when we recognize that there are times when God chooses to be silent and other times when our sin prevents us from hearing God’s voice. In these moments of darkness, we can feel disoriented and alone. Advent is a reminder that Jesus walks with us in the darkness and the silence.
As the darkness gets longer while the days get shorter, let us cling to the promises of God, that God will “never leave us or forsake us.” God is with us no matter how deep the darkness we encounter.