In the New Testament all the really important things seem to happen in the dark.
Jesus is born in the night. When Judas betrays him and he is arrested, night has fallen. When he dies on the cross there is darkness over the land. And when Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb on Easter morning we are told it is still dark.
This is no coincidence. Speaking of the coming of Christ, Isaiah says that the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. When Jesus is born, Simeon says he is the light for all people. And the death and resurrection of Jesus is best understood as a cosmic victory over the powers of sin and death and darkness.
That’s why Christians all over the world celebrate Easter in the night by kindling a fire and lighting a candle and proclaiming Jesus as the light of the world. This is also why Christian people today find hope – light in their own personal darkness – through Jesus Christ. We do not find God absent or indifferent to our sufferings. We find he is there with us, a light in the darkness.
We also believe that he is the hope of peace for the larger and seemingly intractable obscurities of the world: the darkness of hunger; the darkness of oppression; the darkness of war. All these can be overcome by the light of Christ. His light can penetrate the darkness, and following in his way the world can be changed. Mary Magdalen saw this in the dawning brightness of the first Easter day. Christian people now bear this same light to the world, proclaiming the presence of Christ in the midst of the darkness and the promise of Christ that even death does not have the last word. This light can shine in every life and in every situation, helping us to bear the sufferings of the world and also pointing to a different reality.
I wish you an illuminating Easter. May the light of Christ dispel the darkness of the world.