(Yes, I know it’s the title of a vampire movie. Thank goodness titles can’t be copyrighted…)
“By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” [from Luke 1]
This time of year in Kentucky, most of us rise before dawn because the sun comes up pretty late. One morning last week I peeked out the window while it was still dark, and thought it had snowed. It was, I am pretty sure, the heaviest frost I’ve ever seen. Just the right combination of temperature and moisture had conspired to create a freezing fog. Ice crystals formed on every surface. Even in the dark fog, it was beautiful.
Hopeful (and correct, for once) that the rising sun would burn off the fog, I took out my camera and started to line up some photos as I awaited daybreak. The frost crystals were attached to each other in long threads, amazing to contemplate while I waited.
It was wild to watch, as I turned my attention to the sky, then back to the frost. Foggy black atmosphere began to turn to foggy white, then opaque with just a hint of blue. Eventually there was more blue than opaqueness, and finally the fog had fully been overwhelmed by the warming sun. The whole process took at least half an hour, though I was too mesmerized to check my watch.
As the sky brightened, the long crystalline ice threads glowed their hearts out, literally. Within just a few minutes after the fog burned off, the frost began to melt. Before long, things were back to normal.
In one of the readings for this second week of Advent, we have the song of Zechariah. (He was father of John the Baptist, husband of Elizabeth who was Mary’s cousin—Mary being the mother of Jesus. Whew.) Zechariah, a priest, had become mute after a visit by a heavenly messenger who told him he and his wife would have a son. His first spoken words after the birth of John and the restoration of speech include these: “By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
This is always the hope of humanity, isn’t it? That whatever bad thing is occurring now won’t last forever. That the fog that obscures our vision of the future will be dissolved by the light of hope. That the freezing darkness and death that seem so near—especially, for many, this time of year—will begin to melt from the warmth of peace.
May the Advent of hope and peace be yours.
© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2012