In the tender compassion of our God *
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, *
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
—from Canticle 16, The Song of Zechariah, Luke 1:78-79
A few years ago now, a friend referred to me as “a blue night light.” A group of us were walking back to our seminary housing after a gathering. I was wearing a blue shirt (blue is my favorite color) at the time; my friend simply used the words to let me know that I was a comforting presence. It was a seemingly fluffy compliment that held no lasting meaning for him. However, I hold on to the image as a part of my identity, especially as I consider what my next tattoo should be.
One tattoo already wraps around my left wrist—seven stars and one crescent moon, all blue—as a reminder of my love of the night sky and how connected I feel to God when out under it. Given his words, and similar ones from others, a blue night light seems fitting, convenient. But why another person’s compliment? my friend asked when told.
I began attending church ten years ago, after largely resisting formal religion for most of my life, because all I could see was the darkness I associated with dogma–exclusion, bitterness, ignorance. When I read the phrase “being Jesus’s hands and feet in the world” as part of the mission statement in the bulletin of the church I went to, a great light bloomed in my heart. Finding a community that looked to serve those in
need–a deeper understanding of what it meant to follow Christ began to dawn on me. Belonging took on new meaning as did serving others.
On this second Sunday of Advent, with the words of John the Baptist’s father, Zechariah–harbinger of a harbinger of the Messiah’s arrival–to give us hope, I can think of no greater compliment than to be called a light in someone else’s darkness.
Photo from Inhabitots, Eco-night light Moon Jar