The shepherds saw the bright light of the angel chorus in the heavens, the magi followed the light of a star, and the prologue of the Gospel of John proclaims: “In him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (1:3b-5) Light is at the heart of Christmas.
Today is the Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. There is a reason Christmas is celebrated at the darkest time of the year. In this moment, when earth seems cold, hard, and lifeless, and the light fades too soon, we proclaim our faith that the life that is the light of the world came into it in human form 2,000 years ago. Since the moment of the incarnation, the world has never been the same.
As we reach the goal of our Advent Pilgrimage, the Feast of the Incarnation, I pray that the light of God’s love shines brightly for you this Christmas. There is plenty that is cold, dark, hard, and seemingly lifeless in this world. As the lights of our Advent wreaths (remember to add a white one in the center for Christmas!) and our Christmas trees shine, may they lift up our hearts to the One who loved us so much, he just couldn’t stay away from us. I pray that you are able to share that light with even one other person, by an act of kindness, a smile, a word, or perhaps a simple gift. If your light feels dim, please know that Jesus took the words of Isaiah for his own: “a dimly burning wick he will not quench.” (42:3) My experience has been that if I can keep the door of my heart open even just a crack, that love sustains me in the darkest times.
The darkness is not yet vanquished in this “now and not yet” era, but the light still shines in that darkness, and the darkness has not, does not, and will not overcome it. The world has changed since the Incarnation because God has joined us in our humanity with its joys and brokenness, and opened the way for the peace and unity we were created for. Open your heart, full-on or just a crack, to that light this Christmas, and your life will not be the same.
In the deep peace of the Incarnate One,
+ Rev. Amy