Light for the Darkness



Our hearts and homes are filled with anticipation of Christmas – music, the laughter of children, twinkling lights, and cookie baking. But there is no blocking the awareness of evil and horror in our world.  Media brings the terror of war and injustice of humans to even children right into our living room.  We may prefer to close our eyes and shut our ears to this threatening clamor, and may be tempted to think there has never been so much to fear at a Christmastime. But through the ages, there has been darkness and wrong – 100 years ago, in the trenches of WW I, the December of the attack on Pearl Harbor , and in the time before the first Nativity.

The poem below was written years ago by Madeleine L’Engle.  I believe it was one of the previously unpublished pieces included in the collection in Winter Song, published by L’Engle and her friend Luci Shaw in 1996, and was written some time before that, so at least 20 years ago.  But it sounds like she could have been writing after seeing this morning’s newscasts.


Into the Darkest Hour

It was a time like this,

War & tumult of war,

a horror in the air,

Hungry yawned the abyss –

and yet there came the star

and the child most wonderfully there.


It was time like this

of fear & lust for power

license & greed and blight –

and yet the Prince of bliss

came into the darkest hour

in quiet & silent light.


And in a time like this

how celebrate his birth

when all things fall apart?

Ah! wonderful it is

with no room on the earth

the stable is our heart.

~ Madeleine L’Engle, as quoted in Winter Song, Christmas Readings by Madeleine L’Enlge & Luci Shaw