December 24, 2021

Advent Reflections of Looking and Longing for Light

By Sarah Bourns Crosby

“Just look for the green lamps, they’ll point you to the subway”— sound advice I received upon moving to NYC. 

In this city of bright lights, the sky is rarely black enough to see the stars.

I don’t usually mind the glitz and glitter, but I’m sure I don’t appreciate the wonder of it all like I would if it wasn’t so . . . constant.

Darkness makes us LOOK and LONG for the light.

We humans, we’ve been doing this since the beginning—looking and longing for signs of light amidst the darkness.

Sometimes our eyes get so used to the dim and dreary that one little beam of sunshine can blind us with beauty.

And we realize, we can’t really have one without the other. 

The darker the night, the brighter the light

Maybe you’re bathed in brightness right now. I am so, so glad. May you hold it that much more tightly because you have known the dark days.

Or maybe you’re walking in a land of deep darkness (Isaiah 9:2). May you keep looking for those glimmers of light, they’ll point you to the Way.

And today, may you look and long for Him to come. His light still shines in the darkness, and darkness has not overcome.

L E T  T H E R E  B E  L I G H T

Christmas began
In the beginning. 

In stillness, in emptiness, 
In nothingness.
A blanket of silence, an overpowering absence
A void, a vacuum, the universe a blank canvas.

But where darkness covered
The Spirit hovered.

His Fullness filled the stillness
His Voice broke the silence.

And into the night, He spoke, 
Let there be Light. 

The people of Egypt, enveloped
In a thick cloud of darkness.
The long night of the ninth plague, 
A blanket of blackness.

While the Hebrew slaves
Sang in the daylight,
Their desert land
Bathed in bright white.

With a cloud by day, and fire by night
Yaweh led them,

Out of the darkness
And into the Light.

The prophet saw his people
Walking in a land of deep darkness.

Wandering, lost, broken and blind
Watching for a glimmer of hope
Waiting for the sun to shine

And into the night, he spoke, 
Wait, just wait, for the Light.

The angel appeared to Mary 
In a time of oppression, injustice, unrest. 
Her people yearning and aching
For someone to save them from their distress. 

He announced this way of salvation
A strange declaration 
Good news of peace and great joy.

A virgin girl to deliver
The Light of the World
God– as a baby boy.

And over the darkness, he said, 
It is done,
Your Light has come.

And at the end of time
There will be no night
And no more need for the sun.

For the Son of God
The Messiah King
Will  be our Eternal Light.

A   P R A C T I C E 

Sit in the dark. 

Find a closet or a quiet room.
Turn out the lights and close your eyes.

Set a timer for 6 minutes and 45 seconds… which is a total of 400 seconds—one second for every YEAR of silence between the Old and New Testaments, while the Hebrew people waited in the darkness for their deliverance, for the Messiah to come. 

As you wait in the stillness, don’t do anything but wait. 

Feel the impatience. Or the peace. 
Notice what thoughts flit through your mind.
Worries. Or questions. 
Memories. Or hopes for the future.

Observe your body; use your five senses to pay attention to what is going on in and around you. 

And just keep sitting. 

It won’t last forever. 

Whatever is dark for you today—unknown or unclear, blurry or bleak—would you trust, it won’t always be this way?

A   P R A Y E R

of blessing for those walking in darkness

May His presence overshadow 
Even our darkest shadows

May we look 
And long for Him to come 

May we hope 

And may we know

That His Light still shines in the darkness 
And darkness will not overcome.

More of Sarah’s works can be found at or @sarahbournscrosby on Instagram. 

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