Sometimes you stumble across something from another faith that helps you more deeply appreciate your own tradition. This Sikh prayer has opened for me a new dimension to the Season of Advent and I would like to share it with you:
In our tears and agony, we hold our children close and confront the truth: The future is dark.
But my faith dares me to ask:
What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb?
I can’t help but think of Advent when I hear this prayer. During Advent, we intentionally enter into the darkness of a world before God chose to take on human flesh. We contemplate the fact that God abhorred not the virgin’s womb, but became humble and poor, despised and rejected, for our sake. As we prepare to enter that darkness knowing that the celebration of Christmas is on the other side, I would ask a further question: What if the darkness of the tomb and the womb are one and the same?
The Sikh prayer goes on to say: “Remember the wisdom of the midwife: ‘Breathe,’ she says. Then: ‘Push.’”
Advent is the breath before the push. I encourage you to take time to breathe this Advent. Commit to picking up your devotional before you reach for your phone in the morning or flip on the news. Breathe, contemplate, sit in the darkness until you understand it as the darkness of the womb, and live with great expectation for the new life that will come after it. Breathe in Advent until you realize that all the darkness of this life that seems like the darkness of the tomb—like death—is transformed by the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Christ is coming, sisters and brothers. Let us prepare our hearts. And when Christ comes, let us be ready for action, ready to set out on the adventure he calls us to, ready to do the work of Christmas.
Rev. Stephen Stacks