First Sunday of Advent: On Foggy Days
“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”
“The sun will no more be your light by day,
nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.
Your sun will never set again,
and your moon will wane no more;
the Lord will be your everlasting light,
and your days of sorrow will end.
Then all your people will be righteous
and they will possess the land forever.
They are the shoot I have planted,
the work of my hands,
for the display of my splendor.
The least of you will become a thousand,
the smallest a mighty nation.
I am the Lord;
in its time I will do this swiftly.”
—Isaiah 60:1-3, 19-22 (Read Isaiah 60)
As I wake to my alarm on this fall morning, I am greeted out my bedroom window by a heavy fog over the Beaver River. Our little city is often covered by this thick blanket smothering the valley, making it difficult to see anything more than a block away.
I roll over and close my eyes. I take a few deep breaths. It’s hard to climb out of bed and head out the door when the immediate is all I can see—when my familiar world is hidden, and the sun has yet to break through to shine a clarifying light on the day.
And yet—after hitting snooze a few times—I crawl out of bed and start my day.
Every morning in Beaver Falls, in the midst of this fog, my neighbors wake up and get out of bed. I see them weighed down by backpacks, walking to school, heading to J’s News to buy cigarettes, or waiting in line for Oram’s doughnuts. Although we cannot see the end, we keep going.
We are a people moving through the darkness, through the fog, even if the destination is not in clear sight.
I’m currently in a season in which it is hard to see beyond this fog in my day-to-day living. My daily routines revolve around caring for the immediate, and it is difficult to see hope and light breaking through mundane rhythms.
I work as a caregiver for a young woman who, as a result of two battles with cancer, has a body which no longer functions the way it used to. All of our days consist of the same routine. Waking, showering, using the bathroom, eating, exercising, reading. Repeat.
Simple activities that I often take for granted—like getting dressed—can take us 30 minutes to do together. Our days are slow, and we can both easily become frustrated with the other as she tries to communicate her needs.
The purpose of my presence is not to restore her body to the way it used to be. There is no end in sight at which point she will be able to walk again or care for herself. There is no promise that after my time with her she will be more independent, more mobile, or physically stronger.
Knowing this adds to the difficulty of getting out of bed on foggy mornings.
Just like it is hard to see the world around me, it can be challenging to see the hope in the work I do, day after day.
The season of Advent speaks so deeply to my heart and daily experiences. As I wait for the fog to clear and for the light to break through, I am joined by believers from all of history who waited. Those who waited for the birth of the Messiah, and who now wait with anticipation for his return. A people who now continue living, even when the end is not in sight. We cling to these words from Isaiah, that when all is said and done, our God will return to us and be our everlasting light. And in his loving faithfulness, he gives us signs of that light right now.
Even during long days of bickering with my client, or coming home and weeping over her struggles, the Lord provides glimpses of this Kingdom light. Moments like singing at the top of our lungs and making everyone in the physical therapy gym smile. Eating delicious zucchini brownies after baking them together. Dancing to our favorite Disney songs. Hearing my client pray for me, even when she has so many of her own needs.
These moments of breaking through the fog and darkness of our days together point me to the future hope of Jesus’ return.
Seeing the Lord’s faithfulness in unexpected ways gives me hope to get out of bed and keep going, to push back against the darkness and point others to a day of everlasting light. A day when my client will be dancing on her feet again, not in her wheelchair. A day when we both will be surrounded by many others who continue to seek out the light, even on foggy days, only through the hope of our King Jesus.
—Bekah Knab serves as Caregiver and Children's Coordinator at the SOMA Gathering in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. She was involved in CCO ministry as a student at Eastern University, participated in the 2013 Ocean City Beach Project, and served as a CCO Associate at Geneva College.