Light is tied to the Christmas story in several ways:
- The Gospel of John points to Jesus Christ as the Light of the world
“The True light that illumines everyone” John 1:9
- There is the account of shepherds who were keeping watch over the flocks by night when an angel appeared to them to give them the news of the birth of Jesus. Although the passage does explicitly state that there was light for such an appearance, it makes perfect sense to think that heavenly messengers would come with their own illumination to fill the night sky.
- There is also the star the wisemen followed that led them to the birthplace of the Christ child.
But there are many other ways light and darkness figures large in our lives this time of the year. It’s is a perfect time to illuminate the night with brightly colored lights on houses and city trees and places of business. We decorate our homes, both inside and outside, with lights.
This year there is a spectacular display of light found in the night sky. On December 21, we had the Great Conjunction when the planets Jupiter and Saturn came close to each other in the sky. They seemed to come so close to one another as they are viewed from Earth, that to the naked eye they no longer seemed to be two separate lights but only one for a brief time. We won’t be able to see such a reoccurrence of this event again until 2080 making this a once in a life-time experience. Because it comes so close to Christmas this time, some are calling it the “Christmas Star.”
Light is deeply important to us. When we are fearful, anxious, apprehensive and full of dread, we look to the light to find peace, comfort, assurance and understanding. When we are in the dark, we seek out the light.
When someone is afraid of the dark, it helps to have a night light to chase away those fears and the things that are outside our control. At times, we can be the ones to hold up a light for others. In anxious and fearful times, we can offer others kindness and presence that brings a sense of comfort, understanding and peace.
Friends in Christ, in this time, when there so much darkness, from virus and social isolation, from uncertainty about tomorrow and a recent past that leaves many deeply divided we need less darkness and more light. As 2020 comes to an end and a new year lies just ahead, this the perfect time to hold up a light to others.
So may it be.