Look at the photographs below. The first two were taken by a friend this afternoon at about 3.00 p.m. It was a beautiful day in Stockholm. The sun shone brightly for the few hours it was out creating an amazing sunset, at 3.15 p.m.
Darkness falls quickly this time of year.
The long summer days dazzle in an entirely different manner.
The beauty and wonder of an almost never ceasing light create a warmth and a comfort that is difficult to understand if you've never experienced it.
Most of us who live in Sweden prefer the season of light over the season of darkness. The only way that most of us endure the long winter is by creating extra light sources in our homes through lamps and candles. The darkness must be pierced or one cannot endure it.
The theology embedded within the Swedish winter is not so hard to understand. The darkness of our lives can only be endured if we allow the light of Christ to pierce it with his love and grace. We all have "summer seasons" in our lives...when the light of Christ is long and lingering and we feel as though we are living in a steady stream of God's grace. But we all have "winter seasons" as well...when the dark spots of our lives appear all too often and come upon us too quickly and we hunger and yearn for an extra dose of Christ's love and grace. The recurring message of Advent is that there is light enough to cover whatever darkness threatens our lives.
The wonderful thing about the light of Christ is that it never ceases to deliver what we need. It does not fade or flicker. It shines brightly against the backdrop of our greatest joy and our deepest sorrow. It covers our best moments and our worst shame.
I love the light in Stockholm...whether it be the short, quick light of our winter days, or the long, lingering, lasting light of summer...but no matter the season, I'm thankful for the light of Christ that blots out my darkness and illuminates the road ahead for me.