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  • Writer's pictureAllison Wilcox

Advent: Hope for New Life

For there is hope for a tree,

if it is cut down, that it will sprout again,

and that its shoots will not cease.

Though its root grows old in the earth,

and its stump dies in the ground,

yet at the scent of water it will bud

and put forth branches like a young plant ~ Job 14:7-9

New life starts in the dark. Whether it is a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb, or Jesus in the tomb, it starts in the dark. ~ Barbara Brown Taylor Death is the prerequisite to resurrection, the new life God intends. ~ John Ortberg

A book that I love is Learning to Walk in the Dark by Barbara Brown Taylor, an Episcopal priest, author, professor and world renowned preacher. In it, she shares her believe that darkness is not "bad" while light is "good." Darkness is necessary. It is a teacher. It's a caretaker. And, as we see in her quote - as well as experience - it is life-giving. We tend to contrast light and dark as polar opposites, and yet it is in the cold, dark ground that the tree of Job springs to life. It is in the darkness of the womb that the baby Jesus grew, ready to burst forth into the world. It is in the darkness of winter that life slows down and plants hibernate, ready for Spring to warm them to begin to grow again. It is in our darkest places where hope is able to be shown most vividly. It is like the light spilling from one room into another or the lights of Christmas that show their true beauty only after night falls. It is through the darkness of the cross, that resurrection brings the ultimate new life: new life in Christ.

Gracious God, light up the this world with the brightest hope and help me to treasure the darkness that gives birth to it.

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