Winter Spirituality I
I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again, so that there is really only one logical conclusion. I need darkness as much as I need light.
• Barbara Brown Taylor, Learning to Walk in the Dark
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My wife tells me the days are getting longer now, but to me, it is still imperceptible. Where I live, today we will enjoy nine hours and forty minutes of daylight. Which means nearly fourteen and a half hours when the world is dark.
In winter, life is more darkness than light.
How does this influence our spirituality?
I may be mistaken, but it seems to me we live in a world and with churches that encourage what Barbara Brown Taylor calls a “full solar spirituality.” Darkness is to be avoided. We want to “walk in light” around the clock.
You can usually recognize a full solar church by its emphasis on the benefits of faith, which include a sure sense of God’s presence, certainty of belief, divine guidance in all things, and reliable answers to prayer. Members strive to be positive in attitude, firm in conviction, helpful in relationship, and unwavering in faith. This sounds like heaven on earth. Who would not like to dwell in God’s light 24/7? (p. 7-8)
However, each day throughout the year is split between light and darkness. There is a rhythm to the daily cycle. In summer, a bit more sunlight, in winter, a bit more of the dark, but every day a measure of both.
As Taylor asks, “[W]hat would my life with God look like if I trusted this rhythm instead of opposing it?”