Happy New Year! Even though the daylight hours are increasing at this time of year, there is still more dark than light. Sometimes all this darkness affects our moods and motivation to do anything. This poem by Jan Richardson spoke to me about the light that is on its way, but also how we can think about its coming in its many forms. I hope the writing prompts at the end will give you a chance to reflect on the many ways light comes into your lives.

How the Light Comes
Jan Richardson

I cannot tell you
how the light comes.
What I know
is that it is more ancient
than imagining.

That it travels
across an astounding expanse
to reach us.

That it loves
searching out what is hidden,
what is lost,
what is forgotten
or in peril
or in pain.

That it has a fondness
for the body,
for finding its way
toward flesh,
for tracing the edges
of form,
for shining forth
through the eye,
the hand,
the heart.

I cannot tell you
how the light comes,
but that it does.
That it will.
That it works its way
into the deepest dark
that enfolds you,
though it may seem
long ages in coming
or arrive in a shape you did not foresee.

And so
may we this day
turn ourselves toward it.
May we lift our faces
to let it find us.
May we bend our bodies
to follow the arc it makes.
May we open
and open more
and open still
to the blessed light
that comes.

© Jan Richardson from her website: http://adventdoor.com/2011/12/21/christmas-day-how-the-light-comes/

What is a light in your life and how do you access it?
Shine a light on something hidden, lost or forgotten, and write about what you find.
How has light sought you out and awakened you to something new?

6 replies
  1. Margaret
    Margaret says:

    Dottie, thank you so much for this. I needed it — the days feel so short. Wonderful way of rethinking these dark mornings…

    • Dottie
      Dottie says:

      Yes, look to the light! Soon actual light will come slipping back into our corner of the world; we just have to be patient and somehow create our own light for now.

  2. Sarah Birnbach
    Sarah Birnbach says:

    This poem is perfect for the new year. I love it. I especially love this part:
    That it works its way
    into the deepest dark
    that enfolds you,
    though it may seem
    long ages in coming
    or arrive in a shape you did not foresee.
    This part expresses a hopefulness that I need as we all enter this new year. I plan to journal about this sentence since it resonates so strongly for me.
    Thank you for sharing this.

    • Dottie
      Dottie says:

      I’m bringing copies to the retreat for us to use maybe for our New Year’s write(?). One way I’m looking at the poem is seeing the new year as light-bring it on!

  3. Ross Varney
    Ross Varney says:

    This poem just found its way to a memorial service, brought by a friend of the deceased, and I will read it in my Sunday morning sermon as an example of resurrection spirit. Imagine, starting out as a New Year’s poem it seems, and then being an inspiration for any day of the year, even in a funeral/memorial service, or an Easter time sermon! Thanks to Rev. Jan Richardson for such a moving and deep expression of new life.
    Rev. Ross Varney
    Belleville Church, Newburyport


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