Op-Ed: The Christmas Light

By Rev. Raymond Collins

Special to the Gazette

Our celebration of Christmas each year abounds in symbols: angels, Christmas trees, bells, shepherds, lights and many more that vie for our attention. I would like to focus on “light” as a symbol for this reflection, as many preachers will be proclaiming during Christmas and through the year ahead how Jesus is our light in the midst of any darkness that might come our way.

There is always the temptation these days to be politically correct, but there really is a reason for the season, a reason for all the fuss we make at this time of the year. The reason is the birth of Jesus, the Son of God, the light shining upon all humankind. Without Jesus, the light of the world, our lives would be darkness.

Have you ever experienced a blackout? The television goes off, the computer goes off, and worst of all the lights go out. We cannot see. Then, when the lights come back on, we are most grateful for the light that has reappeared. And so, as Christmas comes again, our hearts are filled with joy and gratitude for the light who is Jesus. When the light comes back on, though, we sometimes take the light for granted, and maybe not thinking too much about what it takes to “walk in the light.”

At Christmas we do celebrate Jesus as the light of our lives, and the light of our world. Jesus our light helps us to see the world as God sees the world. Jesus, whose birth we celebrate, experienced hunger and cold, joy and family, pain and sorrow, as do we. This is why he was able to touch the most in need as he went preaching along the roads of Galilee. He walked along with them!

The light that Jesus shares with us, he wants us to share to lessen the darkness of those most in need. His whole life is a witness to this. At this time of the year more than any other, the needy in our communities seem to tug at our hearts and call us to be a light in their darkness. There are those who do not know how to deal with lo—of a loved one, a job; they may not feel adequate the ups and downs of their emotions. We can be a light to them; we can be Jesus to them!

In the second century, a writer by the name of Irenaeus said the following: “God became man, so that man might become God.” Yes, God became human to show us how to be more divine.

So now whenever you turn a light on, or light a candle, is it too much to think of who Jesus is? Is it too much to think of Jesus, as the light of the world, the light of our lives?

In the Gospel of Matthew 5:14, we read, “You are the light of the world.” This is Jesus, the light of the world, telling you and me that whatever gift God has given us we are to share with the one who has less. At Christmas we are more aware than ever that God has given us the very best in sending His Son Jesus.

Rev. Raymond Collins is the rector and pastor of the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, known as Mission Church

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