Embracing Darkness, Embracing Light

Alone one Christmas Eve many years ago, I started Elie Wiesel’s book Night, his memoir as a teen in a Nazi concentration camp. I questioned my choice on page one, but I couldn’t put it down. I read it in one swoop and now I remember Night each Advent, our annual season of waiting.

What then felt so incongruent now feels increasingly appropriate. Each year brings greater awareness of the dark side of human life. Today’s post and the next few will focus on the healing that can come when we embrace both darkness and light. We can build a cumulative endowment of light.

Night by Elie Wiesel (1928-2016) is available as a free PDF download. He won the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize. Here’s part of his acceptance speech:

“…I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. …. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must–at that moment–become the center of the universe.”

… “No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night. We know that every moment is a moment of grace, every hour an offering; not to share them would mean to betray them. Our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately.”

Why Elie Wiesel’s ‘Night’ Still Matters So Much to Me–And All of Us,” by Samantha Power

2 thoughts on “Night”

    1. Samantha Power’s article explains that it took him 10 years to find the words. It’s a painful story so guard your heart if you read it. The odds were slim that a teenager could survive Buchenwald, go on to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and then live 30 more years.

      Until I read Power’s article, I didn’t know he had so many rejection letters from publishers. It took a long time for society to begin to deal with the Holocaust.


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