(This article was written for the Owatonna newspaper – People’s Press. You can find it here)
Recently, I have been listening a lot to the album Light Chasers by Cloud Cult (whose members Craig and Connie Minowa hail from Owatonna). As the name of the album suggests, a theme of light is carried throughout the album, in both the music and lyrics. Images of fire and stars, candles and birth, are held in tension against a dark backdrop of regret and fear, pain and death.
As I continue to listen to the album, I cannot help but connect it to this season of Advent and Christmas. It is a season that is centered around light. A light shining in the cold darkness of winter. I am reminded of the magi who saw and followed a star in the sky. “Ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.” (Matthew 2:9) This is no ordinary star that simply shines; it moves. As it moved, the magi followed. They were light chasers, seeking this radiant presence of God, which stopped over the house where a child was born.
During Advent and Christmas, we become light chasers too. We string up lights around our houses and trees to brighten up the dark evenings. We pass light around Advent wreaths, as a new candle is lit week after week. We sing songs about light: “Silent Night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright.” We chase light because we know darkness. We do this as way of witnessing to our hope- that darkness will not win or have the last word.
As we chase the light, we are called to be ones who point to the light as well. To point out those places where the light of God breaks through the darkness, offering us hope. We might not see a star moving in the sky, but we do hear that familiar sound of a bell ringing beside a red bucket for the Salvation Army. We might not encounter the dead being brought back to life, but we do encounter the swell of life that comes in the outpouring of support when a loved one has died. We might not experience the parting of the seas, but we know what it’s like to come together as a community and find our way through flooded homes and flooded streets. All of this is light…shining in the darkness.
It is hard to see and follow at times, this light. It moves. It shows up in places unexpected, like in a vulnerable baby born to a scared and unwed mother. But it is this light which we seek. We are light chasers.