By Stacey Kohl
Darkness is a word we don’t often associate with the more positive aspects of life.
When we were children, it was easy to imagine the monster as it lurked in the darkened corner of our room or in the blackness of the night outside our windows. As adults, we may no longer live in fear of the monsters lurking under out beds, but we still fear the dark.
As adults we fear the hidden; we fear the unknown; we still fear the dark.
But is the dark truly something we should fear?
With today dawns the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. For those of us living in Connecticut, the sun will rise on this day at 7:11 a.m. and set scarcely over 9 hours later. As the sun dips below the horizon, we will be greeted by the longest night of the year, the Winter Solstice. Over 14 hours of darkness will surround us this night leaving us in much the same state as our ancestors were, seeking out places of light and warmth from the dark and the cold.
But for those brave enough to venture out this night, you may be greeted by a strange realization. Darkness, even the inky blackness of the Winter Solstice, is never truly dark at all. Christmas lights glow on house-fronts, candles burn in windows, streetlamps bathe corners in warm yellow light. And for those lucky enough to move farther out, away from the man-made lights of the cities, you may even be greeted by a greater gift—the lights of God. Stars more numerous than we could ever name, meteors streaking by in the guise of “shooting stars,” and the waning light of the moon as it chases the night across the sky.
These are the gifts of darkness. Darkness can create for us a place of rest, a place of stillness, a place of noticing. Without darkness’ soft and gentle enfolding, the glare of the day would be too much; too stark, too real. Without darkness, we would never know the light—both the bright light of day and the soft glow of stars at night.
And so, on this night of great and consuming darkness let us remember that we truly have nothing to fear from the darkness. After all, without darkness, there is no light.