O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them! Psalm 139:1-17
Yesterday was the shortest day of the year. This is our first winter in Alaska, and getting used to the lack of light has been a challenge. It will be a good while before the sun is up and it will come down early in the afternoon. There is a deep beauty to the darkness here, and a joyous response to sunlight. All is celebrated and nothing is taken for granted.
We hear the psalmist today, as we come to the final days of Advent. We are reminded that even in the darkness, even in the hidden places, God is with us. Our fear of the dark, of isolation and of rejection are constantly being undone by God's love and light. We are formed with the tender hands of the Creator, loved and sought throughout our lives. No matter how we stumble in the dark and clamor in the light God is with us in our most awkward and delightful moments, cherishing and celebrating with us. We can take heart, in the depths of winter that God is not far off but near and God is bringing love's light to the depths of despair that surround us.
Today I ask God to help me know that light and love surround us, no matter the circumstances. May we live as children of a loving God, trusting that in our seeping and waking God is with us. May we live aware of the love and light that surrounds us and share God's love this day.