Beloved of God,
At Christmas time we celebrate the Light, who is Christ, coming into the world to dispel the darkness we find ourselves enveloped in because of our sin and the sins of others. This Light, who is the Christ, brings to us all the spiritual blessings of heaven for us to be holy and spotless in his presence through the exercise of love. Ephesians 1:3-6 tells us we are to become God’s adopted children so that we may praise the glory of his grace through which this is all accomplished in Christ. This Light brings a hope that cannot be defeated because it brings with it the certainty of God’s promises in Jesus Christ.
It appears that there is an encroaching darkness in the world around us. This darkness finds its source, it would seem, in the hearts and minds of those who have lost sight of the Truth of God in Jesus Christ. The problem with ‘sight’ is that it has the capacity to adjust itself to various levels of light no matter how dim or poor the light is. We think we are seeing clearly, and we get accustomed to the dark. The dark becomes normal to our sight. The same happens with the intellect, if it is not exposed to the light of wisdom and truth it believes it sees reality clearly when it is not. Blindness becomes the norm from which only a few seek liberation and escape.
The world, our world, is in need once again of the coming of the Light that is Jesus the Christ. He comes now, not as before or in the time to come, but spiritually through sacrament, prayer, and word. He comes when a faithful people come together in unity to celebrate His love and mercy. The Light comes through acts of compassion, understanding, kindness, charity, consolation, fidelity, integrity, and purity. The Light comes when we speak the truth and encourage one another in accompaniment. The Light comes when we are silent and trusting in the face of desperation. It comes when we have faith.
Light comes when we are faithful to our promises and true to our word. Commitment and fidelity to that commitment is what makes it possible for others to risk, to have the courage to weather the storms, to trust and to hope. If we are to love as God has commanded us to, we must live up to our promises and commitments even when it requires sacrifice. Enough of the self-idolatry, it is time now to humbly respond to the Light that has come into the world to save us all from our selfishness and pride, to save us from the encroaching darkness that seeks to destroy us.
May this Christmas and New Year be a turning point in our lives as individuals, communities, and nations. May we say ‘yes’ like Mary to the Light coming into the world and may we rejoice that we are so favoured by Almighty God as to receive the gift of His Son. Have a blessed and joy-filled Christmas and New Year’s Season everyone.
Bishop Robert A. Llanos