Advent Reading for December 6, 2021
by Bert Mitchell

Zephaniah 3:16b-17a
Do not fear, Zion; Do not let your hands hang limp.
17 The LORD your God is with you, The Mighty Warrior who saves.

One feels vulnerable in darkness. Being in the dark involves being without light, a reduced ability to see, and a feeling of vulnerability to what is unseen in the immediate surroundings. Anxiety fills the mind with what is imagined and unseen. The fear of darkness often occurs in children. It can last months but sometimes longer and into school years. Parents use a nightlight, leave the door ajar, or adopt a stuffed animal or doll to relieve the child’s stress from fear.

Parents know a child’s fear cannot be ignored. Ignoring the fear does not make it go away. The fear is authentic in the mind of the child. Fear is natural too for older children walking outside when there is no moonlight, no streetlight, or building light. Adults may harbor a fear of tripping and falling in the dark when walking inside or outside in the dark.

Reflection Question: What did you do, or how did you overcome your fear of the dark?

For a time in my life, I feared the dark. It lasted until I reflected on the words taught to me by my Sunday School teacher. She said, “Fear not; God is with you always.” After trusting and having faith in these words, I found that my fear of darkness had disappeared completely. The trust placed in her, “God is with you.” message has reached beyond fear of darkness. Most importantly is a belief that people are good rather than bad at their core. Good is not the exclusive strength of the university degree, technical training, gated community, or the resources we transfer to our children. Good is more common, more available to everyone, and can be exercised by everyone. It is the sense of common good that resides in us all. Overcoming fear allows a mighty good to reach far beyond the ability to walk in darkness. It creates the ability to walk fearlessly in support of the common good.

Prayer: I pray that God will be with me always as I walk dark passages into the light. Amen.