“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. The Word was with God in the beginning. All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it. A man came, sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that everyone might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify about the light. The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.”
Those verses from the beginning of the Gospel of John remind us that while we prepare our homes for Christmas, we must also prepare our souls for the arrival of the Light.
As we draw nearer to the celebration of Christmas and Christ’s birth, we also draw nearer to the winter solstice, the shortest and thus darkest day of the year. This year on that day, keep in mind the darkness of Christ’s crucifixion. Maybe spend the following three days of secular darkness thinking about how spiritually dark your life would be without the Light that is Christ.
And let us think about Christ’s light: is it the light of a lightbulb, or the light of a flame?
Before the convenience of countless strings of tangled twinkle lights, people used to light their Christmas trees with candles. While for the sake of safety it’s probably best to stick with the twinkle lights, the metaphor of the candles is one to consider. A lightbulb cannot cause other lightbulbs to just turn on. But the flame of a candle can light countless other candles. The light of a flame is a light that can be shared with others who in turn can pass it on.
In a completely dark room, a Christmas tree with only one light will still drive the darkness away. But we do not light our Christmas trees with only one light. And while there can be only one Light with a capital L, we are called to each be a light with a small L because God wants us to light the world. We, as evangelical disciples, are meant to share the Light that is Jesus Christ. The flame of the Holy Spirit was meant to set the world ablaze with His gospels and the promise of the New Covenant.
When you light your Christmas tree, think of the light that is Christ. When you see how all the lights together drive darkness out of a dim room, think of how the light of many filled with the Holy Spirit can together drive the darkness out of their family, their workplace, their community, their country, and indeed the world.
It is our role as Catholic Christians to not just celebrate this Light, but to become beacons of the Light so that we may illuminate the world for others. In this secular darkness, let us rejoice for God’s Divine Light, and share the Light of Jesus Christ with everyone we can.
Who is God calling you to be the light for? Who do you know who is living in such darkness that they need you to bring them Christ’s Light? Who is God calling you to pray not just for, but pray with?