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Where Is the Light When Tragedy Strikes?

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We sit in this season of darkness. Cold. Helpless. Lost. Afraid. Consumed, at times, with our despair and our weakness and our lack of control over life and death and the events in between.

It doesn't seem strange at all that it's winter. I can't imagine today without gray.

And yet.

And yet.

There's a part of me that cries out against it, this soul-sucking sorrow. This agony and angst. There's a spark, bright inside me, that quietly waits with its hopes and its wishes and its sweetness and its aches.

This is the season of darkness, it's true. But I believe today more than ever that one of our most profound acts as human beings, and perhaps our most unifying, is our insistence on celebrating the light at the exact time it appears lost to us.

Do you know that we all do this? This Light Dance? We do. All over the world, across genders and borders and creeds, we do.

2012-12-15-ID10084814.jpg We Swedes wreath our eldest daughters in candle crowns at the Festival of St. Lucia. We Dutch hand our children lanterns in honor of Sint Maarten, who showed kindness to a stranger. We pagans light bonfires at the winter solstice and dance naked in the snow. We Jews light the menorah faithfully for eight nights because we believe that somehow, miraculously, light will find a way to keep shining. We Christians burn the candles of Advent, anticipating that light will walk among us, at once as frail as baby and as strong as God.

We celebrate Loi Krathong in Thailand and Diwali in India. And in doing so, we defy the dark and choose hope instead because we trust, despite all evidence to the contrary, that light is coming. That light, in fact, is already on the way.

Everywhere in the world, we rejoice in this triumph of light over darkness as though we believe it will inevitably come to pass. We are ludicrous, ridiculous, irrational and unreasonable people to do such a thing. And we are gorgeous and stunning and amazing for celebrating the light as though we're already victorious. For celebratinglLife in the midst of death. For celebrating peace in the midst of pain.

So come, light. Come quickly. We're ready for you. Especially now. Especially today when the darkness edges close. The spark inside us beckons you home, keeping the faith, and it knows your best secret. The spark inside us knows that the darkness doesn't win in the end.

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This essay was originally posted at the Five Kids Is A Lot Of Kids blog.

Image credit freedigitalphotos.net: Floating Lanterns by Phaitoon, Candle Lit by 9comeback