by Michael Ketterhagen
“Don’t let the light go out.
It’s lasted for so many years.
Don’t let the light go out.
Let it shine through our love and our tears.”
Peter, Paul and Mary song, 1982
Although Peter Yarrow wrote this song as a cry to end the 1982 War between Lebanon and Israel, it is an appropriate shout out for peace and sanity at this time of the year and in this year of life on Planet Earth.
It calls out to the light for passion to continue the hard work in our pursuit of justice. It begs the light “for the strength that we need to never become our own foe.” It pleads with the light not to let “anger tear us apart.” It asks the light to remind us “to believe that justice will somehow prevail.” It asks the light to give us “the wisdom to know when the peacemaker’s time is at hand.” It calls the light to shine so that we never lose the faith that the light of justice and peace will always stay lit.
This light is God, the Source of all Life.
Our culture, our civilization needs to remember that the light “will not fail.”
Christianity shares this belief, especially now, at a time when the candles on the Advent wreath act as a preparation for the commemoration of the birth of the Prince of Peace, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.
Judaism celebrates Hanukkah at this time of the year to commemorate the continued light of freedom for the Maccabees in the Jewish Temple in the 2nd century BCE.
The Wiccan community rejoices over the return of the longer days of sunlight at solstice, knowing that Nature will always shine the light.
The African-American community lights its seven Kwanzaa candles to celebrate the seven principles of their African culture—unity, self-determination, collective work/responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.
In Islam, Allah is the Light that guides believers. “God Almighty has revealed the holy Quran upon his beloved final prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. ... Allah guides to his light to whom He wills and Allah sets forth parables for mankind, and Allah is knowing of all things.” (Chapter 24, Verse 35.)
Yoga also believes that Agni, the source of fire and light, is always with us. Agni is always burning deep within us. We just need to “light one candle…let it shine through our love and our tears” to be reminded that truth,…peace and “justice will somehow prevail.”