December 24, 2015
‘Light of the World’ Casts Out Darkness and Fear
These words come to you at Christmas, with assurances of my love, best wishes, and prayers.
Think about the world today, and two words somberly come to mind.
One is darkness. There’s a lot of dreariness and stark realities out there to make the world a bleak, shadowy place: war, violence, persecution, hunger, terrorism, immorality, family breakdown, poverty. Even within our beloved Church, it can seem the “lights have gone out,” with the scandals and sobering reports about people leaving us.
No denying it: outside, nature is dark, as we know these days as winter begins are the ones of the year with the least amount of sun. Our world can seem dark, not only because the sun is at its lowest, but because it can seem that evil, sin, and suffering are winning.
The second word would be fear. At the recent presidential debate all the candidates stated, “Americans are scared.” They have a point. Forces are out there that frighten us. That fear can paralyze us, depress us, or make us irrational.
Darkness, and fear ...
And then we can hear God’s Holy Word at the Eucharist on Christmas ...
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light,” Isaiah tells us. The one who will tell us that He is “the light of the world” is born, Jesus, the Savior of the world.
As the sun stops descending and hiding, ascending higher beginning December 21st, so do we rejoice in the birth of the Son of God.
“The angels said to the shepherds, ‘Be not afraid!’”
I’m told that their exhortation, “Be not afraid!” is the command of God—the Father and the Son—most frequently recorded in the Bible.
God knows that fear is choking for body and soul.
An antidote to a couple, a family, a community in fear, scared about the future, is the birth of a baby!
Every newborn baby is a sign from God that He wants life to go on. He is not afraid of the future!
That infant born in Bethlehem that first Christmas was God’s proclamation that “fear is useless, what is needed is trust,” as that baby will teach when He grows up.
Mary and Joseph had every reason to be scared out of their wits: refugees, homeless, pregnant before marriage, vicious king out to kill the baby, fleeing as immigrants to Egypt.
Yet, they trusted ...
No wonder we love Christmas! No wonder we need it! Darkness has been turned around by the rebirth of the sun and nativity of the Son; and fear evaporates as the one who is “the way, the truth, and the life” is born in the city of David.
A blessed Christmas!