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The Linger of Darkness, The Weight of Light: A Few Easter Thoughts Borrowed From Christmas

Updated: Jun 20, 2021

Ever since Christmas I have had a nagging thought. It’s one of those lines you’ve heard many times before but now it just won’t leave you alone. It comes up over and over and for the past four months I just can’t shake it.

“Those who walked in darkness have seen a great light.”

It is the opening line of a beautiful passage in Isaiah 9 and is quoted again by Matthew to bridge the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness with the beginning of His public ministry.

I know these things.

I know where it comes from and how it’s used. I’m familiar with the prolific metaphors of darkness and light littered throughout Scripture.

But I can’t make sense of why this line has haunted me these past few months.

I woke up this morning thinking Easter might be some kind of magic moment. That somehow this morning, the final piece would be placed in the puzzle and the picture would reveal itself. Easter feels like it should hold some sort of secret knowledge about light and darkness, right? As though somewhere in the well-worn story of crucifixion and resurrection, there is something that will draw my soul out from its own cave and illuminate the mysteries of relationship with this very present-absent seeming God.

But alas, in the midst of all the celebration and liturgy that come with today, I feel it like a child tapping on the window or a raven repeating “Nevermore,” as it rolls again in the back of my mind.

“Those who walked in darkness have seen a great light.”

The painful part of this is that I desperately want some cognitive solution to this puzzle. I want a revelation like a letter in the mail or a treasure map discovered in the bottom of a drawer. I want words and instructions. I want meaning and explanation. “What does this mean? What is it about darkness and light that I should know?”

Instead, I get the thing I fear. I have not thoughts to offer on the profound revelations of this verse. I do, however, have a weak feeling deep in my gut. I hear the words and something inside of me drops. These words have weight and volume. They have been plaguing my ears for months. They won’t leave me alone. They just sit like a great pressure on my heart. All I can do is feel. All my logical pathways are shut off and I can only swallow this great lump of emotion. I have no fortitude for this kind of thing. It’s all I can do to endure it.

"Those who walked in darkness have seen a great light."

It’s Easter morning. The light is striking. The darkness that proceeded has been palatable. It is a day of reckoning and truth. In many ways, the darkness has been chased away and in another way, it still descends on me.

I wanted to write and put this out into the virtual universe because I hoped along the way, I might stumble on an Easter message that would make sense of this nagging sentence. But as I write, there is no grand message other than the very one that has been there all along …

"Those who walked in darkness have seen a great light."

No profound words of my own. Just a great pressure and weight of love and frustration that bears down greater and greater as I write. It seems that both Christmas and Easter and all the in-between times elude my grand dependence on words and neat platitudes. This Easter is looking to be another day under the linger of darkness and the weight of light. It does help to share these thoughts and place them in a space where perhaps you hold one of the pieces of my puzzle. Perhaps it is not mine but a much bigger puzzle where we all hold pieces that fit to make a picture beyond our reckoning.

I hope this Easter finds you wrangling with truths so heavy they sink right through your brain and get stuck in your chest. I hope for light and a weight of glory so profound, we become full by it. I hope that

"because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:78-9)

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