There are various accounts that exist online in which the young Einstein is alleged to have humiliated an atheist professor. You can see a video clip reproducing this dialogue here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DE2c19zj2Qs
The thrust of the argument put forward by the student begins by stating that darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in fact simply the absence of light. Light can be studied; physics tells us that light exhibits properties of both a wave and a particle. Darkness has no such properties. Darkness cannot be broken down. A simple ray of light tears the darkness and illuminates the surface where the light beam finishes. Dark is a term that we have created to describe what happens when there’s an absence of light.
I wanted to share with you some thoughts about darkness and light. Living in the absence of light can be taken to mean many things. It is in the absence of light that we stumble and fall, we struggle to understand; there is always something very powerful about the coming of the light. It is in light that darkness is dispelled; truth is revealed.
At the beginning of tonight’s service 5 candles were lit, symbolising hope, intimacy and sharing, watching, waiting, expectancy, and the imminent presence of God.
It can be helpful to reflect on how this is accomplished. As we journeyed through advent, reflecting on the year we have had, a year in which we may have had times when that light seemed so absent, we must remind ourselves that the light is coming. God is not simply transcendent, distant, far off, disconnected.
He chose to reveal himself in immanence and presence, through the incarnation of his Son, our Lord, Saviour and Redeemer Jesus Christ. Immanuel – God with us. It was on that night over 2,000 years ago that Jesus brought the light by stepping down into darkness, our darkness.
In our first bible reading we are told how the people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
We may surely take comfort in knowing that there is nowhere we might flee from God’s presence. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.”
In Jesus Christ was life, and that life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The darkness – our fears, uncertainty, lack of understanding, doubts – will never defeat Christ. Jesus is the Light of the World.
Gaze upon the 5 candles. Be reminded that in the presence of Christ, the Light of the World, we may find hope, intimacy and sharing in our watching, waiting, and expectancy. We find something else too: an invitation as Jesus stands at the door and knocks. Will you welcome him and accept his invitation? Amen