Jasper, Dolly, Peanut, and Lucy.. all know. They know that it’s that time of year again… Fireworks, loud bangs, bright flashes, random whizzes fizzing and flying through the dark night sky. They dread this time of year.. not easily consoled, nowhere safe to hide. When will it end? No amount of sound therapy or clinical psychotherapy, plug-ins, comfort blankets, creating safe spaces will help. The anxiety levels, and fear levels go through the roof.. and just in case you are wondering who Jasper, Dolly, Peanut, and Lucy are, well.. they are pets owned by good friends and neighbours!
Notices tied to lamp posts, Neighbourhood Community boards displaying invitations to Halloween street parties. Trick or treat galore, pumpkins piled high at supermarket counters, costume wizards and witches knock on the door, horror movies on overdrive.
Across the world, on 31 October, many people will be gathering to hold Halloween Parties, welcoming darkness over light, moving over to the dark side of life, while for Christians like myself, we will be joining Hallelujah Parties feasting and celebrating the triumph of light over darkness, life over death, freedom over captivity. This will then be followed by All Saints Day on 1 November, a feast day where saints and martyrs known and unknown are remembered.
On 19 October, Diwali – the five day Festival of Lights was also celebrated with fireworks and feasting by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. This festival celebrates new beginnings, the triumph of good over evil, and of light over darkness. Food and gifts are exchanged, houses lit up by traditional candles (diyas), decorated with artwork, floors patterned with coloured powder, inviting light into dwelling places.
Over the past months, I have been humbled by the courageous persistence of the ‘light bearers’ around the world, who in the face of opposition, injustice, and evil have stood their ground, regardless of the consequences. People who refuse to be overwhelmed, or silenced by threat, intimidation or bullying. Yet this is not just the remit of the few, but of the many. We are all called to be ‘light bearers’. However, I have also been profoundly disturbed by the deafening silence of many who should have spoken out and taken a stand alongside those who deserved support, but did not.
Our words, our actions, our very presence carry the power to transform and confront prejudice, racism, sexism in our communities, in this nation and beyond. Let’s together light up our spheres of influence wherever we are, so that people will know that light does overcome darkness – so that truth, justice, mercy flow freely. Let’s together engage with those sitting in darkness who have seen a great light.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. For those who lived in a land of deep shadows— light! sunbursts of light.
Isaiah 9:2 The Message