The Challenge of Light

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.




The Challenge of Light


advent is not about the coming

of a sweet baby.

it is not about sentimental,

trumped-up emotion.

advent challenges us

to an adult acceptance

of the kingdom of god,

to social imperatives,

to self-forgetfulness,

to letting go,

to a deliberate emptiness.


we like to make the Christ

into a perpetual baby.

we can cuddle a baby,

a baby asks nothing of us.

the Christ is so much more demanding.


advent doesn’t just happen

the four weeks leading up to Christmas.

our lives our one huge advent.

our lives are about bringing light

into this dark world.


in advent and winter we wait for light.

do we forget it’s up to us

to be light in the darkness

of a world that is






it’s easy to get hung up

in religion,

in practice,

in institutional think.

it’s easy to feel complacent

because we go to church,

because we give money.

the litmus test

is giving of ourselves,

is embracing mystery.

advent is not just a passive waiting.

it allows that we are responsible

to be light-bearers.

Most of these thoughts come from a small meditation book: Preparing for Christmas by Richard Rohr. I find them unsettling, preachy, even disturbing–I suppose because Rohr has hit that sore spot that challenges those of us who are Christian to really look at what Jesus asks of us in the Gospels. I hope there will be a message for all to hear…no matter what your own personal beliefs.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and many good things in 2014.

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto



17 thoughts on “The Challenge of Light

  1. dragonkatet says:

    There are a lot of truths in this post; universal truths, I think, and not just limited to Christianity, as you have already pointed out. I often try to be a “Light-Bringer” – different terminology, same meaning. Those of us who DO strive to bring light (not just enlightenment, but positive energy and love) to the rest of the world have a tough path to walk. It’s certainly harder than being negative, hopeless and giving up. The world is already such a dark place, it needs the Light even more than ever before. I don’t know much about advent (of course I know the story of Christ) but as we all head into the long, dark contemplative sleep of Winter, regardless of religion, we all need the warmth of the Light. It’s good we can share and reach out to others through this medium. Thanks for sharing, Victoria. 🙂


  2. Those of you who commented “got it.” Thank you.


  3. Inspirational words, especially yours in your envpo!


  4. I think this is so important.. it reaches beyond religion for me.. to be a bringer of light is much more about how we are to each other… not about going to church.. so much more.


  5. scillagrace says:

    I am leaning so much more into the challenge and responsibility of life, so that sweet little baby talk and sentimentality falls on my deaf ear. Jesus, the Christ, is the one who asks, “Do you want to be healed? Then pick up your bed and WALK!” No passive message there!


  6. Brendan says:

    Fascinating, that the season of greatest darkness on Earth is paradoxically the one where the greatest transformation occurs, where the light is born again, comes afresh into the world. Faith at work then would be to midwife that as best we can with our own darkness and surrender and walking through. To be not only light-bearers but light-givers, with whatever ever talents we haven been granted. A great reminder here. Great epigraph, too.


  7. ramblingsfromamum says:

    I think we can bring light to the world without being preachy, without even being religious. I am not religious, though I was brought up with Christian values. I do not attend Church – for I believe attending does necessarily make you a good person. In saying that, everyone has a right to their values and beliefs and I totally respect that. Giving of ourselves, comforting and helping others where we can – gives us the light we need. If I have offended I apologise. You have written well Vick and what I have commented is not personal ~ smiles. I wish you and your family a safe and beautiful Christmas. x


  8. claudia says:

    to be light-bearers….it’s radical… yes… great thoughts here victoria and the giving of ourselves is a key for me here…and one of the most difficult things i can think of as well


  9. Glenn Buttkus says:

    Oh, so right on, bang on the spiritual button, with honest metaphysical overtones, recommending /deliberate emptiness/ (always a challenge for a “have/take” society)–/embrace mystery/ never easy for those who feel faith is just admitted ignorance–and regardless of religious affiliation, love is the bearer of truth, and everyone has the potential to be /light-bearers/ thanks; have a blessed holiday.


  10. Mary says:

    Wow, Victoria, I could respond and respond to the thoughts in your poetry today! I will try to limit myself. I agree that our lives are one huge advent. I am so aware of that this year. It is not only waiting for ‘the babe’ but waiting for Christ to come again. And yes, we are responsible as ‘light bearers.’ This is part of the deal of Christianity, I believe. We have to keep lighting those candles, Victoria, wherever we can.


  11. kkkkaty1 says:

    I agree the reason for living is to be bearers of whatever avenue of life, or place, or level, or preference of how and when and how much…I find his tone a little preachy, tho, too…Happy Holidays


  12. kaykuala h says:

    advent is not just a passive waiting.
    it allows that we are responsible
    to be light-bearers.

    Famous last words fittingly expressed Victoria! Advent is into everything in that short span of time. Merry Christmas!



  13. brian miller says:

    i like your litmus test much better…yes the kingdom present. i think at times we treat this world as if one we can just leave behind after and not have to worry about…and i like your addressing keeping jesus a baby, being harmless and not asking much of us….


  14. Grace says:

    Challenging theme but I like the idea of us being the bearers of light, and inspiring us to bring advent, not just this season but the whole year through ~

    A lot to meditate here Victoria ~ Wishing you Happy and Blessed Christmas ~ Cheers ~


  15. Interesting anecdotes… theological to a certain extent but still wise. I liked how you represented mankind as the “bearer” of light. I agree that they are quite preachy but one can always find the meaning one is looking for.
    I don’t follow any religion. I like reading about all of them. Please do not mind if I have mentioned something inappropriate. 🙂


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