Baruch atta, Adonai,
Elohenu melech ha-olam,
V’higianu laz-man hazeh.
Blessed is the Lord our God, ruler of the universe,
For you have kept us in life, sustained us,
And brought us to this holy season. -Jewish prayer book for Chanukah
Our Jewish friends have just ended their Chanukah celebrations, marking the miracle of candles that never went out during the Maccabean revolt, and this evening prayer is one of the central prayers of the festival.
As you may have gathered over these last few weeks, a central theme of Advent waiting for Christians, and indeed for people of faith in these months, is this idea that though things look bleak and dim, God is still at work in the shadows.
Perhaps, even, through the shadows.
I think we can all agree that this season of Advent is holy. But perhaps we need to take an expanded view and see that all seasons of waiting, of hand-wringing, or wondering when relief will come, are, in their own way, holy.
- What is a time of waiting in your life that ended on a hopeful note? What would you say to your anxious past self if you could speak to them?
- Have you experienced God working through the shadows of life? If so, how can you use that experience to help others in their times of anxiety?
Let us pray. You work even when we cannot see it, God. Today we give thanks for our Jewish brothers and sisters who remind the world of your continued faithfulness, and we ask that you continue to show us the ways you are active, even in the shadows of life. Amen.
All italicized quotes, poems, and prayers come from An Advent Sourcebook (Liturgy Training Publications/Chicago, IL, 1986).