by Ben Gibson
We live in a world with too much light. At the flip of a switch we have access to something which was hard to come by for most of human history. Light emanates from our phones, from our computers. On an episode of Planet Earth, David Attenborough (in his ever so pleasant British accent) explained that the light from cities has caused confusion among baby sea turtles who once were guided to the ocean by the moon. Upon hatching, the first light they see is street lamps rather than the moon, resulting in the baby turtles fumbling across streets and curbs rather than waddling to the ocean. Even tiny turtles on the edge of the civilized world cannot escape the ever present deluge of light.
We live in a world where we set up too many lights to live by. We are uncomfortable in darkness and ambiguity. So, we search out lights to guide us. We are drawn toward the lights of success, comfort, relationship, and career. These are not bad things. But just as the village lights become fatal for baby turtles who are drawn toward streets with rushing cars, the lights we let guide us draw us toward something other than our true home. Confused by the numerous lights that we see giving off a dull glow, we lose sight of the light we were born to see.
Take time to sit in the darkness. The only way to find the true light is to turn off the other ones. Growing up, my parents would nightly have us turn off all the lights in the house to light the advent candles. We would do our advent devotional, reading and singing by only the few remaining lights. During this Advent season, we should turn off the phone sooner than we think we should and power down the computer before all our work is done. We need to turn off the lights. In those dark moments we can take the time to recognize what we have set up as lights in our hearts. We should strip them away so that our souls might spend some moments in darkness. We might just see the light that has come down.