“And I said to the one who stood
at the gate of the year:
‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown…’
This is an excerpt from a poem written in 1908. Born into humble roots, the poet, Minne Haskins’, father began as a grocer, later acquiring and running a pipes factory. In turn, her mother took on the management of the factory after her death. Shaped by what she witnessed and experienced in early life, Haskins became a life dedicated to the care of workers and others on the bottom rung of society.
Yet in 1939, with a country facing the uncertainty of war, King George VI read this poem for his Christmas Day broadcast. The words, “Give me a light so that I may tread safely into the unknown,” struck a chord in the minds and hearts of its hearers. Perceiving that the road ahead was fraught with peril and even danger, the words resonated.
And so it is now, as you and I stand at the beginning of 2022. With even Canada expressing alarm at the perilous state of our democracy, the continuity of weather systems upended due to climate change and a virus that shows no signs of abating, is it any wonder we’re anxious? But in speaking truth, as poets can, Minnie Haskins continues with these words:
‘And the one replied;
‘Go out into the darkness
and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light
and safer than any known way.’” Minnie Haskins, 1908
When Epiphany’s Star eludes us and we are plunged into darkness, illumine us, Divine Maker, so that we may tread safely into the unknown. Amen.