Joy and Sorrow Day 6

Friday, Dec. 16:

AM Psalm 40, 54; PM Psalm 51;

Zech. 7:8—8:8; Rev. 5:6-14; Matt. 25:14-30

Thomas Kortus

Have you heard of the new culinary trend of restaurants serving meals in complete darkness? Supposedly this atmosphere heightens the sense of smell and taste by reducing visual distractions. I thought this was just an urban legend until I looked it up. It is real, after all. Unfortunately these culinary experiences are limited to New York and other major cities.

Can you imagine eating something you cannot see?

I don’t think I will ever get a chance to check this trend out by the looks of the menu prices—plus I don’t know about being served by wait staff wearing night vision goggles—but I must say that there is something about darkness that affects our senses. I find that darkness either sharpens my senses or makes me fall asleep. When I walk through a dark room or into a forest at night my ears prick up, my hands outstretched in front of me, and I am aware of the slightest sounds and smells and movements. On the other hand, if I am exhausted or bored—or both—I find that darkness makes me nod off and fall asleep. Have you ever been driving late at night fighting to stay awake while your eyes will not stay open, willing yourself to stay awake and stay alert? It’s a scary place to be.

This Advent I have been challenged by the Spirit to be alert and watchful. These five senses that I have been given—sight, sound, taste, touch, smell—are pure grace and they have been given to me to experience and interact with the world. But they are also means to notice God because he has come into the world by the Incarnation. The first coming of Jesus is the advent of light in the  darkness, of life amidst death. The kingdom has come near in Jesus. As a result, the reign of his light invades and displaces the reign of darkness, and the reign of life invades and overcomes the reign of death.

But do I have eyes to see and ears to hear the light and life that is bursting forth all around me?

Are my eyes peeled and my ears tuned in to the signs of the kingdom coming all around me? Or are my eyelids heavy? Am I nodding off? Are my spiritual senses dulled? It is so easy to fall asleep or get distracted, as I all too well know when I look at my life. But Christ has come. Christ has died. Christ is risen. And Christ will come again. So I need to be aware and alert to his presence. I want to be alert and aware. I want to be watchful and prepared for his coming, here and now, around me, around others too. Maybe I should consider getting a pair of those night vision goggles!

An excerpt from the “Dining in the Dark” website:

“In this era of information overload, visual stimulation has reached an all time pinnacle. But imagine, just for an hour or two that you cannot see, that you are abandoning vision in exchange for a new, more unique dining experience singularly focused on experiencing the vibrant and subtle tastes and experiencing the whole range of the pallet without distraction.”

May this same focus be true of you and me when it comes to preparing our hearts for our Savior, even in the places of our lives that seem dark at the moment. My prayer myself? That I’d learn how to pay careful attention to the subtle signs of our Savior around me this season.

(Today’s exercise: Eat one of your meals today with your eyes closed. Yes, that’s right, with your eyes closed. Perhaps you can only manage a few minutes; perhaps you can manage the whole meal this way. As long as you’re able, notice the food and drink with all your senses, except sight, and thank God for his generous provision of this food and drink.)

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