Nightmares begone! Today is the First Sunday of Advent. There’s a light up ahead. No more darkness. No more night.
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
This year, more than ever, I want to believe it. I light a candle and hold my breath.
I look hard but I can’t see a great light. I can’t see through this darkness. I can’t see the end of this national nightmare.
Country singer Hank Williams couldn’t either. Different nightmare. But not that different.
Hank Williams knew darkness. He brought some of it on himself. Actually, a lot on himself. But not all. None of us does. The darkness finds us.
One night, Hank’s mother saw something up ahead on the dark road. Look, she said to her son slumped beside her, there’s a light up ahead. Hank looked up. He saw the light and later put it in a song. “No more darkness, no more night. I saw the light.”
He sang that song everywhere. Everyone sang that song. It was sung at his funeral. It may be the most sung song in his catalogue. After all, we all long to see the light when we find ourselves living in a time of deep darkness.
One night in San Diego, Hank tumbled off the stage. Drunk. Again. It was the first of two shows.
Minnie Pearl put him in his Cadillac and drove around town singing “I saw the light,” hoping to sober him up for the second show. Hank sang a few lines, then stopped. Oh, Minnie, he said, I don’t see no light.
We can sing that song all night long. We can recite Isaiah every year. We can light a candle every day. That won’t end our nightmare as far as I can see.
Light a candle anyway. Hope is the First Candle of Advent.