As I write this column, the year’s longest night is approaching.  In a couple of days, the tilt of Earth’s axis as the planet rotates will turn the northern hemisphere its furthest distance from the Sun.  The hours of darkness outnumber the hours of daylight on this midwinter day.
Winter and the solstice used to be my least favorite time of year.  Getting up in dark mornings that look like the middle of the night was a drag.  We humans have always dreaded the dark–we can’t see in the dark; it feels threatening, cold.  When we talk about or visualize hard times, we often call them “dark” or use dark colors.
I must confess that there are moments when events in the world or in my personal sphere make it seem like the darkness is closing in.  The challenges of changes that HMA is experiencing seem overwhelming sometimes.  Crawling under the covers in the dark and waiting for the morning light to return is tempting.
The first creation story in Genesis (Gen. 1:1 – 2:4) describes a formless, dark, and, we imagine, chaotic situation in which the Spirit blows.  And, out of that dark situation, life in all its beauty and diversity and vitality has emerged (and still comes forth), inspired by the Spirit/Word of the Creator.
I have also learned something of what John O’Donahue calls “the intimacy of night.”  Nighttime is quiet, slowing, a time of resting for living things after the activity of daytime.  The dark morning hours nurture prayer and meditation and listening to God and our soul.  We humans can slow down for a time from the busy doing that drives our lives.
And from such living darkness, life will continue to emerge.  HMA’s search for an Executive Director is now in process during this midwinter.  In this intimate dark season, the Board of HMA encourages you to prayerfully consider your interest and capacity in serving the faith-health movement in this HMA capacity; or maybe there’s someone you know.  The position announcement is shown below this article.
While challenging, the process of coming together with an Executive Director and then a new permanent Office Manager also holds great opportunity waiting to emerge from the seemingly dark chaos.
While the world situation or our personal situations may feel overwhelming, the goodwill of people in the midst of the pained creation holds great healing waiting to emerge from the dark times.
Moving through this holy winter season, I pray you and us and all creation peace, joy, and hope.  Inspired by the holy religious and cultural celebrations we have just experienced (Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa), may we emerge from this season of living darkness to shine the light of love and health.

Rev. Karen MacDonald, M.Div.
HMA President