O Come, O Dayspring from on high: and cheer us by your drawing nigh; disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadow put to flight. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you, O Israel.
“O Dawn” or “O Dayspring” is, I think, my favorite name for the Messiah, and there is no better time of year to shout it from the rooftops. As the daylight gets shorter and shorter heading toward the Winter Solstice, we all remind ourselves and the world that God’s light, God’s daybreak, will always appear.
This is why Jesus is called “The Dawn” or “The Dayspring” or even “The Bright and Morning Sun”: because after a long period of confusing shadows, light always returns. Always.
In 2016 Ann Arbor News ran a retrospective highlighting Keshia Thomas, an African-American woman who shielded a KKK member from being beaten during a white-supremacist march that turned ugly back in 1996.
Keshia noted that she “had to follow her conscience” in that moment, and protecting another human, even one she profoundly disagreed with and one who may not have done the same for her in the same situation, was important. This act of bravery on her part led to a life-long relationship with the man’s son, a relationship that still continues to this day.
“The real accomplishment of all of this to me,” she said, “is to know that his son and daughter don’t share the same views. History didn’t repeat itself.”
It may take a while, but God’s inbreaking always happens. In fits and spurts, and perhaps not as noticeably as we’d like, but it always happens. The new day, the dawn, the Dayspring, always arrives.
- Be on the lookout for God’s inbreaking today. How is God showing up in the shadows of your life?
- Be aware that you could be God’s in-breaking dawn for someone else. Is there an opportunity to shed light in the shadows for someone today?
Let us pray. Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: Come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death. Amen.
All italicized quotes, poems, and prayers come from An Advent Sourcebook (Liturgy Training Publications/Chicago, IL, 1986).