The Light of the World

The mornings are colder now, and dark. Bare trees stand out against a graded sky. Leaves have nearly gone from the trees and pile in heaps on the grass. They […]

The mornings are colder now, and dark. Bare trees stand out against a graded sky. Leaves have nearly gone from the trees and pile in heaps on the grass. They crackle in the breeze as many wind chimes. In my early morning walk, I am greeted by the new sunrise coming suddenly out of the dark night, welcomed by a barren world. The winter season is with us now in its own austere wonder.

Squirrels frolic in the frozen grass oblivious to the cold, as if it were still summer. Leaves rustle beneath my feet, and the early sun warms frozen air, golden light touching branches, roof tops, and me. We are jealous of the sunlight now; precious hours continue to diminish day by day. Forgotten already are the carefree days of summer, I hunker to prepare for months of sub zero temps. Though it is not darkness that is coming but light; even now as the day is shrinking and warmth receding, the light is preparing to recycle back.

The sun moves higher and the fallen leaves fly up in the brisk morning breeze. I am dazzled by the brightness of the clear sky, glowing orb of morning sun and dark tree limbs. All this just happens without my effort, a miracle every morning. A miracle that almost passed by without my notice.

In these cold mornings, people begin to think of gifts and guests, and bring out colored decorations. Songs play in shopping centers, of santas, stars and a new born baby. Expectations rise for days of gathering, good food, and family sharing. And hope. For the one promised, the light of the world.

In Advent, we prepare for the baby Jesus to come all over again. We call out from starved hearts that have spent the year running after so many things, until the winter cold mercifully removes distractions from our eyes. Is Jesus just another thing to run after like everything else?

The crèche is laid out carefully and the tree set with ornaments. Church bells ring and people gather, awaiting the day when the manger will be filled with the ceramic baby. Jesus, born 2000 years ago, is coming again.

But Jesus is not coming this Christmas. He is no longer that baby in the manger, though we still look for him there. He meant for us to grow up spiritually, to eat his words and become them, to feed on him every day aware that he has never left us, even as he promised. For how could we ever do this without him? In his book, ”This is My Body”, Bishop Robert Barron says that “the deepest meaning of Christian discipleship is to be with Jesus”. We have forgotten that Jesus is still with us and how to be with him.

Jesus is here. Be with him. Absorb him as the morning sun on the dark winter earth, receiving him in our minds and hearts, in the very cells of our bodies. Follow him. Where else is there left to go?

Taking his hand, we can walk with him now as a friend. No longer as a baby in a manger, but as the God-man who knows and calls us to be all that we are. He is waiting for us everyday to wake up. To see that the light has already risen, and Christmas morning is here.

We have chased so many things until our hearts are broken. The wrappings are thrown and the presents forgotten. But Jesus will never leave.

Remember the one necessary thing.

“What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him.

But to those who did accept him, he gave the power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation… but of God.

And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, and the glory was of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:3-5, 9-10, 12-14

– Julia Gauvin

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