Christmas, Season of Light
One of the universal images of Christmas is “light”. During December people all around the world place lights over their holiday tree, on their homes and lawns, and in their windows.
The first link between light and Christmas come from the ancient Jewish prophet Isaiah, who had the vision for the future: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned” (Isaiah 9:12). Centuries later Isaiah’s statement was directly connected to the birth of Jesus by the disciple John who said that this Life brought life to everyone, and added, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it” (John 1:45).
St Luke notes that when Jesus was born, a great light, the glory of the Lord shone upon the poor shepherds.
St Matthew notes that the bright light of the Star shone down upon the place when the wise men “found the Child with Mary, His Mother”.
In the temple Simeon called Jesus “A revealing Light to the Gentiles, later Jesus was to say, “I am the Light of the World. No follower of mine shall ever walk in darkness”.
The outdoor lights may not be a great philosophical statement, but they do show a certain outreach, a certain sense of sharing. They are some kind of Light in the darkness. There is enough darkness in the world, enough sadness, grief and pain. A Light in the darkness is welcome.
During the month of December we all can do our part to brighten up the light of Christmas for ourselves and others. Precisely because Christmas is a season of joy, it places special pressures on some people whose relatives have died, and whose memories become vivid at Christmas; people who are sick and lonely; people who are away from home; people who are poor and cannot provide much for their children.
Christmas is the ideal time of year to establish reconciliation and forgiveness. This Christmas let us give the “Gift of Forgiveness”.
We won’t have to shop around for this “Gift” and for its wrapping of silver and gold. Let us think of someone who was kind to us in the past. Reach out to that person and return “in kind” to him or her. Your action of kindness returned will become an unforgettable blessing. St. Paul advised us, “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God though Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesian 4:32).
Yes, we can be a Secret Santa too. Spread the spirit of giving to someone you would not normally have on your Christmas gift-giving list. Then, honour that person with a gift, but do it anonymously. This type of action is promoted by St. Paul, who instructed Christians to “use their money to do good, and be rich in good works and generous” (1 Timothy 6:18).
“Cultivating gratitude is a very powerful practice that balances your mind’s tendency to focus on what’s irritating or what’s lacking in the present moment. Constantly focusing on the negative aspects of your experiences can lead to a distorted perception of life. (Author of Emotional Chaos to Clarity”).
Even if we feel we are struggling through the holidays, trust that God is guiding and directing our life. Let us remind ourselves of those encouraging words from the Bible. “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to proper you and not to harm you, plan to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
Many of our brothers and sisters are hurting, discouraged and have no hope for the future. They need to feel God’s compassion and love. Let us try to take some time to help our fellow human beings in whatever way we can. May we all be able to offer others God’s unconditional love and compassion.
“The Light of Christ” is a mysterious light. The Character of Christ’s light was revealed in the loneliness of the Stable, the stillness of the Night of Birth, the Straw and the Manger; in the love of Mary and Joseph.
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem the Light shone in the darkness not just in Bethlehem, but also in our darkness as well. Christ is the Light and the Love with whom we walk through our present darkness until to each of us the fullness of God’s glory is revealed.
During the month of December be a “Star”. Let us all do our part to brighten the Light of Christmas.
May the Blessings and Joy of God’s greatest Gift be yours this Christmas and throughout the New Year.
Blessed Christmas to all!