Monday's Theme: Relying on the Moon
Today marks the Winter Solstice, our shortest day and longest night of the year. For so many, 2020 feels like we’ve been living through the longest night for months now. It’s been difficult to understand, difficult to get our heads and hearts around. Every year there is one day when Chronos time (time on calendars and wristwatches) and Kairos time (being held in mystery, being held in God’s time) meet. It is on this longest night of the Winter Solstice. On this one day into night, the universe and each grieving heart are woven together.
In the Native American tradition, this night annually began a season of gathering together with family and friends. It was a time of leaning in and telling stories. No longer planting or hunting, this time of midwinter reminded many that it was also important to sit and listen. Time to share stories that their grandparents had passed down, and stories that were theirs alone. These stories that needed time to be told from the inside out. It makes me smile to think about how humans have evolved over the years. Now during this season of COVID, our sharing of stories, grandparents’ and our own happen on zoom calls.
A favorite professor at Candler, Bill Mallard used to talk about “the comin’ on moon.” Ever the optimist, Dr. Mallard was one who delighted in learning and teaching. There was a light that came to his eyes and across his face whenever a moment of `ah-ha’ entered our discussions. He was my advisor in seminary, and I was certainly not his sharpest student. I asked him lots of questions. With the patience of Job and all Job’s ancestors, Bill would listen and nudge and encourage and when finally, finally I began to have an inkling of understanding, he would beam and proclaim, “Why, Lesley, you’re comin’ on!” The highest compliment. I will always treasure those “comin’ on” conversations about faith and practice and being alive in the world.
And tonight, the moon offers us that same enthusiasm. The moon shows the world, even in the midst, especially in the midst of this pandemic, “we’re comin’ on.” This night marks the Waxing Moon’s arrival, reminding us that more light is on its way – even on the Winter Solstice. Tonight, on this longest night we are given a bright light in the sky. We are told that forty-five minutes after sunset the Bethlehem Star will be aligned and will offer us the best time to see a bright star on the horizon. Even on this darkest night, there will be a light in the sky, maybe bright enough to lead us on and maybe even bring us back home.
"Time is different here," I heard my Mom's voice say a couple months after her death. Journeying through these Covid-19 days, remind me of the gift of those words. You are invited companion me on this 2020 Advent journey to Bethlehem, as we seek Emmanuel, God who promises always to be with us.