Dear people of God:
I've noticed in myself recently a reluctance to deal with darkness (metaphorically speaking; perhaps I should have written "The Darkness"). Kathleen and I were at a play and when we saw a main character in a very bad, threatening situation, I wanted to leave. Whenever people start talking about Washington politics, I tend to tune out. And when Morning Edition or All Things Considered start in on Washington politics, I often literally tune out (love the "Off" button!).
My excuse, sometimes, is that I live with the Darkness every day in my work, since I work with people whose lives are often touched by the Darkness: death, disease, unemployment, depression, temptation, and much more. But that is merely an excuse. I have to admit that it's an attempt to avoid pain, the pain of empathizing with a person under threat or the painful anger at a political system that has grown heedless of working people and the poor.
I'm writing to you about it because I see it in other folks, too; you've probably heard the saying that whatever annoys you about other people is probably something you have a problem with, too. I've always rejected the notion that Christian faith is always positive, always upbeat, and the notion that we should pay attention only to the happy, positive parts of the Bible. So I need to learn to accept the Darkness in drama and in politics, as I do in the Bible and in your lives.
We affirm that the Darkness did not overcome the Light (John 1:5). That is because the Light has embraced the Darkness, not run away from it. Christ went willingly to the Cross, embracing the Darkness, and from that dark, cold tomb was raised to new life. The only way to the Light is through the Darkness, not by turning away from it.
And, as St. Augustine wrote, only in darkness can we see the stars.