December 10, 2013

bright orange extension cords & the Advent season

luz - [looz]
spanish for "light".

The bright orange extension cord strung between Sara's house and ours.

So, our good friend Sara moved in next door last week, and we love it. Pictured above, you can see our house (on the left) and her house (on the right); there's about six feet between the two. There has already been a number of conversations between our guest bedroom and Sara's kitchen windows, and talk of a tin-can phone.

As you can also see pictured above, we lent Sara a bit of electricity last week. The electric company was being a bit slow and difficult (not that surprising), and so, we threw an extension cord from one window to another, and there was light in Sara's apartment.

Here in the DR, light- electricity- isn't one of those 'for-sure' things that you can count on. It can go out at any moment, with no warning, and with no clue as to when it will come back. You can flip a switch, open the refrigerator, turn on your water heater (you have to turn them on and wait 20 minutes to take a hot shower), and not know if the light will go on, the food will be cooling or the water will start to warm. It's just one of those things that happens when you live in a developing country.

The common Dominican thing to say when the electricity goes out is “se fue la luz” which literally translates to “the light left”. And when it comes back on Dominicans exclaim “llegó la luz” or “the light arrived”. I’ve been in Dominican neighborhoods that erupt into applause when the electricity comes back on.

Light. It’s something so simple and yet it has the power to change so much. I never realized how much I depend on electricity until one night about 6 months into living in the DR, the lights went out in my apartment at 7:00pm. My computer was dead so I couldn’t work or watch a movie. It was so dark that the candle I lit didn’t even give enough light to read by. I didn’t know what to do, so I simply climbed in bed and waited in anticipation for the electricity to come back on. It wasn’t until the middle of the night, when I was fast asleep, that every single light in my apartment turned back on. You never know when those lights are going to show up.

The apostle John writes in his gospel:
    “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the
      world.” (John 1.9)

The advent season is the beginning of the Church's calendar year. It begins the fourth Sunday before December 25 and ends on Christmas day. Advent is a time about waiting, hoping, preparing, coming. It's about an excitement building in anticipation of the Word becoming flesh; of a baby being born; of the arrival of the Messiah, the Christ; of what we've all been waiting for.

During this season we wait for this Light, the Light that is going to show up soon. We wait in anticipation and hope for the lights to come back on. We hope that we won't need that extension cord draped between our houses anymore. We prepare for the day when the true Light will come into this world again. We wait and we hope.

We wait to say in excitement and with applause:
¡Llegó la luz!
The electricity has been turned on so we can take down the bright orange extension cord.
The true Light has come into this world!

This post is based on a blog post from my advent series two years ago. With a few additions.
(Written by Emily)

1 comment:

  1. i love the connection you have made between the common phrase and excitement as it relates to our waiting of the Light of the world. I hope that we do all shout with praise...¡Llegó la Luz!