The Lord is my light and my salvation. Should I fear anyone? The Lord is a fortress protecting my life. Should I be frightened of anything? —Psalm 27:1
Dusk is my least favorite time of day. I am most prone to anxiety or hopelessness at dusk, when day is waning and distinctions become duller, when the outlines of all the things I know for sure by day become hazy in the falling light.
“The Lord is my light,” the Psalmist says. And the light is somehow the substance of salvation; the light is what puts fear to flight.
There is so much to fear: violence, separation, death, ignorance, trauma, the pointlessness of loss. Fear thrives in darkness—in dullness and haziness. Fear thrives when we lose sight of the things we know for sure. But salvation comes in the light.
In this photo, the candles in the windows are surrounded by darkness on every side: the darkness of the sanctuary pushes out; the growing darkness of the night pushes in. The candles stand sentinel in between, undimmed by the deepening darkness.
“The light shines in the darkness,” the gospel writer tells us at the start of the book of John, at the beginning of our salvation story: “and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.”
This is the Advent story we call to memory when dusk is falling. The light shines—even when it seems the darkness is closing in from every side. The darkness doesn’t extinguish the light. Why? Because the Lord is the light. The Lord is our salvation.
Whom shall we fear? Of whom shall we be afraid?