Be a light in our world:
A Christmas reflection
“A spark of the Divine, this inner light, lives in each of us. It needs fanning to become a bright, glowing flame.”
No one needs a clarion call to awaken her to the fact that Christmas is near. Long before December 25, Santa Claus awaits children in stores, towns decorate streets, Salvation Army bells call us to remember people in need, and TV tunes us in to holiday celebrations around the country. Our culture announces it is time to be joyful.
It is time, too, to become more conscious of the presence of Holy Mystery, of the sacred in our lives. As Christians, can we imagine an event better able to connect us with what is holy, mysterious and deeply human than Christmas?
Acknowledge realities of the season
Amid this declared season of joy, we must acknowledge two more realities: First, not everyone is into “chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” Many of us live in situations of struggle, grappling with home foreclosure, lack of money to buy gifts we long to give, care for parents with Alzheimer’s, or deep anxiety for a child fighting in a war. Our sisters and brothers in such situations seek a little light and peace that Christmas has the power to bring. Second, Christmas marks an amazing spiritual event that can be a source of light and peace, presence and promise.
In contemporary times light holds its place as a messenger of the sacred. Descriptions of light in the world awaken us to consider the amazing spiritual event which is the origin of Christmas celebrations. Recall news coverage of people in many countries who participated in candlelight vigils the night before war in Iraq was declared and whose lighted candles and songs for peace turned an ordinary night into a holy night. Think about Jacques Lusseyran, a World War II hero totally blind from age eight, who could “see” because he was guided by a mysterious inner light. He wrote in And There Was Light, “Light was my whole reason for living. I let it rise in me like water in a well, and I rejoiced.” And ponder the large suburban Chicago church where Taizé prayer is held the first Friday of each month and where its children are called forth as prayer begins and given lighted tapers. These children then move throughout the church sharing the light until the place is ablaze with candlelight, a visible expression of communion with others.
Fan the Divine spark
A child whose name would become light was knit together in his mother’s womb that first Christmas. The earth was ready; the human species was ready; and on Christmas day Mary was ready to birth the one named Jesus. Something moved the writer of John’s Gospel to put these words in Jesus’ mouth, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). The blind war hero, Lusseyran, wrote of the inner light of the soul. Such inner light guided Jesus throughout his life, and his attentiveness to it made all the difference. A spark of the Divine, this inner light, lives in each of us. It needs fanning to become a bright, glowing flame.
This Christmas, I invite you to light a candle and put it on your kitchen table to remind you that the divine spark is in all who break bread with you. Let it be a promise of presence, a sign of hope that the fire of love can blaze in our hearts, our world, our time.
How will you find and bring the Light of the World to Christmas 2008? Share your thoughts with us by clicking on Contact Us
Wednesday, December, 17, 2008