November has a certain quality to it. It’s grey, grey, grey. The days are short and dark, the clouds make everything look bleak and dim. Even though you know there is a bright ball of blazing light out there behind them, it’s really hard to convince yourself of that reality. Once a week or so the clouds part and there are bright blue skies, crisp mornings and wonderful sunsets painting the skies with pink, green and gold in the late afternoons. But for the rest of the days it’s slogging through grey.
It’s a time of year where the grey has a different quality to it. January and Feburary greys are just bleak and depressing. November gloom somehow seems to wrap itself around me in a comforting sort of way. The skies reflect some of the grey bleak slog of life right now through the daze of sleep deprivation, toddler tantrums and newborn crying. It’s that old literary device ‘pathetic fallacy’ at work, where the surrounding weather reflects what’s going on in the story. (Hardy and Dickens love a bit of pathetic fallacy…). I like this kind of gloom. It makes me feel strangely safe.
I feel that way because I know it has an end. Coming around the corner of this weekend is the wonder and waiting of Advent. The lights are blazing in the skies around our cities. Christmas is coming and we love to bust holes in the darkness with the wonder of light and The Light come into the world which the darkness doesn’t know what to do with.
November gloom gives way to Advent light and hope. That’s why I can take a bit of bleakness and that’s why we can make our way through the gloom of this season of our lives right now. We might not see much of each other as we stumble around our children’s tears. We might not be able to connect with each other or friends as we stare blankly at the walls but there is Hope with a capital H living here as well.
The gloom of now is tempered by the knowledge that light is coming, in small ways by knowing that babies eventually learn to sleep, evenings will be ours again one day and that our boys will grow up, different seasons will come upon us. The gloom is also tempered by the knowledge that the Light of the World stands with us in this present darkness and holds onto us. Our walk is not dependent on our ability to pull ourselves together and keep going. It’s dependent on His strength holding onto us, helping us hope, helping us trust in the coming dawn each day and the coming final dawn.
For that is what Advent is all about, a coming final dawn when light will conquer darkness forever. When the gloom will be gone and we will be finally at rest. When the Light who came will come again. I long for the dawn light each morning as I stumble through another night of little sleep. I long for the ultimate dawn.
And so until then.
We look for the light. We look for the Light.
Your correspondent, meant to write about the weather, ended up writing about Advent.