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Advent Day 13: Through the Dark

Updated: Dec 15, 2019

Oh how do I show all the love Inside my heart?

Well this is all new And I'm feeling my way through the dark

And I used to talk With honest conviction Of how I predicted my world I'm gonna leave it to stargazers Tell me what your telescope says

Through the Dark, KT Tunstall


After talking about the wise men in yesterday’s post, I felt like this song was a fitting continuation of the stargazer theme. KT Tunstall expresses a far more hopeful version of the sentiment expressed in ‘Alas I Cannot Swim’ (see yesterday’s ponderings); here adulthood is not the bitter experience that Marling describes, but rather a mysterious adventure to be enjoyed. ‘Through the Dark’ is about the singer’s realisation that life cannot be predicted or controlled, and whilst this may have a disorientating effect, she actually finds herself “falling in love with the dark”.

It may seem odd to choose a song about the beauty of darkness when reflecting on the Christmas story, which is usually spoken about in terms of light overcoming darkness. And yet the experience that Tunstall describes seems in many ways to be an apt metaphor for the journey of faith. When we encounter Jesus, we realise how little we actually know. Although it may sound a little paradoxical, we find that our eyes are opened to the beautiful mystery of the world.

I sometimes wonder what happened to the shepherds and the wise men after they visited Jesus. How could they go back to their ordinary lives and carry on as if nothing had happened? Surely this momentous occasion, this divine appointment with the creator of the universe in a stable in Bethlehem must have given them a completely new perspective.

In our own lives, it can be easy to sit comfortably with our black and white ideas; to make all sorts of plans and have all kinds of ambitions; we love to ‘predict’ our world as Tunstall puts it. And yet the reality of God’s love is that it cannot help but turn our lives upside down. God’s love transforms not only our hearts, but also our plans, desires and views of the world. It can be disorientating when he shakes things up! And yet this roller-coaster of a journey is always worth it, because we discover a love that is greater than we’ve ever known before.

I think this may be why I am always so moved by this song. That climactic line, ‘How do I show all the love inside my heart”, expresses the cry of the human heart, especially the heart that has been filled with the overflowing love of God. It’s a question that lies at the centre of the Christian faith and the Christmas story: God shows his love for us by giving us his son and now we are left with the question... how will we respond?…

What can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;

If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;

Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

(In the Bleak Midwinter)


This is part of my LittlePonderings series: "Unseasonal Songs: An Alternative Advent in Song Lyrics". You can find out more here.

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Dec 13, 2019

I’m really enjoying these songs, Ella. Not heard this one before (it sounds like Norah Jones!) Lots to reflect upon.

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