The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;Isaiah 9:1
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shown
This verse is the beginning of our First Scripture Reading at our Christmas Mass, at which we are all invited to “Turn on the Light.” In scripture, darkness is a metaphor for depression and death. Light symbolizes life and joy.
In many ways it feels as though we have been “walking in darkness” in 2020 more so than in most years. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought us sickness, death, isolation, fear, and economic hardship. Businesses, our schools, and even our churches have been darkened. We have walked through growing racial tension, political divide, severe natural disasters, and a contentious election. People seem to be more divided than ever. Some have even lost hope in our future.
Yet, at Christmas, we are called to come together to “Turn on the light” in our homes and our church in order to dispel the darkness. Light not only symbolizes life and joy, it evokes it. It brings it about. In the passage from Isaiah people rejoice greatly at the birth of a child who will connect them with God and bring peace to the land. On Christmas, we celebrate that Christ is that child. Christ’s birth evokes hope, joy, and peace in our world. It transforms the darkness. It overcomes depression and death. It tells of a great future and eternal joy in the hereafter. Today we turn on that light as our community celebrates together, each from our own home and with our own family, but as one people rejoicing without fear at the birth of our Savior.
Perhaps the greatest source of light and hope for me in this dark year is the celebration of infant baptisms. A newborn child is a sign that God has not given up on us. I see each baby as a bright light that promises a better future. The Christ child is the brightest light of all. Let us rejoice. Let us turn on the light.