Gratitude for the contrast of light and dark

Published December 18th, 2014

5 comments

IMG_3692Twenty minutes after my wife finished putting her to bed for the night, our three year old daughter called out, “I don’t like the dark! I don’t like the dark!”

As I was tucking her back under her sheets, I explained that the dark makes it so we can light candles.

“But I don’t like the dark and the candles go out, Daddy.”

“That’s why we light them again and again, Monkey. We’ll light candles again tomorrow and again the day after. We lit candles a few nights ago at Acorn School and now we’re lighting candles at home. Whenever it’s dark we light candles. If it weren’t for the dark we wouldn’t be able to see the stars! Now it’s time for the sun and you to sleep.”

This Thursday, I’m grateful for the bold contrast of light and darkness in this time of year.

This season of darkness reminds me that it takes hard work to keep warm and that the lights of our homes and our loved ones are delightful riches.

On this cool winter morning, I’m grateful for the warmth emanating from our wood stove. Tonight, when the sun sets at 4:27pm and it’s dark by 4:50pm, when the nights are the longest that they’ll be all year and the moon is shrinking towards total darkness, making these long nights darker and darker, I’m grateful for the practice of lighting candles.

Like a moth I find myself drawn towards light. I’m drawn to Christmas lights and candles in windows, but also to the warmth and light of those around me. This time of year, when we’re all drawn inside it feels even easier to appreciate the chubby, health of our children as they sip on soup and warm themselves. Likewise, the love and care of our neighbors becomes all the more apparent as they bring over homemade Eggnog and invite my daughters into their home to read books.

I’m so glad to live in the Northeast where this time of year is so dark. I’m grateful for the reminders built into our calendar– Hanukah, Christmas, the Advent Spiral, the Lantern Walk– celebrations where friends and family are coming together and kindling light.

This season of darkness reminds me that it takes hard work to keep warm and that the lights of our homes and our loved ones are delightful riches.

This is part of our “Thanksgiving Thursday” series. Check out the other posts, What are you thankful for?, Why I’m Grateful, The Green Shoot Inside Our Greenhouse, and It Helps Grease The Wheels.


Simon AbramsonSimon AbramsonSimon Abramson, Deputy Director

As a child Simon spent countless hours exploring the forest, streams and wetlands of his neighborhood in NJ. Simon has a B.S. in Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont where he focused on the relationship between a healthy human psyche and a vibrant natural world. He has staffed and studied with various wilderness schools throughout the Northeast including the Institute for Natural Learning, White Pine Programs and the Vermont Wilderness School. When he’s not in the woods, Simon is designing and building websites and other internet solutions. More about Simon's work.

5 thoughts on “Gratitude for the contrast of light and dark”

    1. :-) Thanks for commenting Shir! Your Friday night service at Kol Ḥai was beautiful! I’m looking forward to many more Shabbats with you. …Next time I’ll ask to you bring me a drum!

      1. Shir Yaakov says:

        I’d brought a drum specifically for you (it was hiding behind the podium), but you looked So Exhausted and the mood was already rockin’ without djembe, so I didn’t let you know. Next time!

  1. Katie says:

    This is as pertinent today as it would be in November. Thank you for the beautiful reminder.

    1. Katie, thanks so much for your comment!

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