You need darkness in order to truly appreciate light. I know this because each year when my family finishes decorating our Christmas tree, the first thing we do is turn off the lights to watch the tree glow in the dark. My coworker Bonnie Sorak says it's the same in her family for Menorah candles -- the darkness helps us truly experience the light.
This time of year, our awareness of light is heightened. Days are getting shorter, so light becomes markedly treasured and uplifting. Hanukkah is coming to an end December 10th and is a celebration of the light that lasted for eight days in the temple after the Maccabees’ repaired their temple from the three-year war. A parable in the Qur’an describes God as light: “Allah is the light of the heavens and earth.” (Sura an-Nur 24:36) Christians light candles in late December to celebrate the birth of Jesus, believing he was the light of the world.
Light is a gift meant to be shared, and it abounds at IPC through the selfless actions of so many. So many of you fuel all of this light with your financial support, giving generously year after year. I witness this light in IPC’s team of dedicated staff and board who work tirelessly in the fight for clean water. I witness it in the hundreds of faithful like you who are inspiring people to think and act differently.
As we reflect on the light of the past year, I want to share the story of one young girl at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church in Baltimore. A teenager from the church was exposed to watershed stewardship through one of our Jones Falls One Water Partnership Inspirational Bus Tours. Touched by what she learned, she is now focusing her Girl Scouts activities on watershed restoration and is building a rain garden at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church. Who knows where this girl will go with her passions? What light will she bring to the next generation? How beautiful was the light she saw at her church that has forever changed her worldview.
This Season of Light, remember that in all of the darkness around us, you are bringing forth light in the humble, small, perfect ways that are uniquely your calling. Through your leadership, actions, and financial support, you are restoring and protecting our shared watershed. And, maybe just maybe, we all treasure this light more fully because of the darkness in today’s world.
May the light in those around you touch your heart. Thank you for all the ways you have participated in IPC’s work this past year and for the light you show me every day.