Concert, disco party. People with hands up having fun in night club lights. Vintage mood
In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it… And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as if the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1: 4-5, 14
Each year, from Thanksgiving forward, most of us are focused on experiencing Christ anew and afresh on Christmas morning. Yes, there are many more demands during this holy season, but the fact is, most of us would love to recover our enthusiasm for Christ and want Christmas to bring a refreshing and renewing of our souls. Part of the reason we go to such lengths to make Christmas so special – the decorations, cooking, gift-giving, gatherings of family and friends, and so forth – is because we want to recapture a bit of the joy we once had. Christmas does that for us.
I would be remiss if I did not point out that most of the anticipation and joy we recall is that of a child waiting for Santa Claus, not the church waiting for Christ’s return. Few things are more fun than the excitement of a small child throughout December, waiting for Santa Claus, and on Christmas morning, racing to see what Santa left under the tree. When I think of Jesus saying, “you must become like little children,” this is my favorite image of childish faith – the irrepressible eagerness and delight of waiting and trusting that Santa will come bearing gifts. With much chagrin, I must confess that I don’t remember the last time I experienced an irrepressible eagerness to meet with Jesus in prayer. That is why Advent and Christmas are so crucial for our lives in Christ. We want and need to be reminded of the wonder of the Incarnation and the promise of Christ’s return.
Another matter with which we are so careful is the pain of the holydays. People we know suffering loss or battling disease, perhaps we ourselves, can feel as if the whole world is celebrating, but we cannot. Sometimes, the events of life leech all joy from this season, and I think most of us are aware of that and exhibit great compassion for those for whom Christmas brings pain and/or loneliness.
But the people who are the easiest to forget are the ones we most need to remember. These are the people who are led by the false lights of this world, and who think Christmas is only about parties, decorations, gifts, and Santa Claus. As our culture becomes ever more deeply entrenched in secularism, many do not even know what Christmas is truly about, nor do they care. A host of counterfeit lights draws them toward the illusion of life and happiness. For these, the only truth is that there is no truth, and life has meaning only to the extent that one chooses meaning for one’s life. The result is an increasingly superficial, self-absorbed, and antagonistic society.
The Light of the world came to bring life to all of these, as well. The grace and truth of the Word made flesh are for those who cannot comprehend it, and that is who we also were at some time in our lives. Every human heart yearns for God, the Holy Trinity of Christian faith, whether the heart knows the Object it seeks or not. As Augustine said, “You have created us for Yourself, and our hearts do not rest until they rest in You.” The Word became flesh to bring grace and truth to a race of people who prefer neither, but who thrive in both when they live in the Light of life.
We do not have to save the world. God has already attended to the matter. But we do have to tell our neighbors that God loves them, that His Word became flesh to find them and save them from the delusions of a dying world. They need to know that God will never cease to search for these who live in the darkness of false light.
Remember these this year. Pray for them. Pray for the opportunity to tell them they are loved by the Lord for Whom we wait and Whose birth we celebrate. Pray that grace toward the lost will abound in you, so when the opportunity comes, you will be ready to speak the truth to a generation that has abandoned even the pretense of it.
If we do not tell them, how will they know? The Light of life is for all people, from the beginning of time and across our planet today. Pray that God will grant you the opportunity to offer Christmas to someone who has no idea of the magnitude of the gift given.
May your Christmas be blessed with the Light that gives life to us all.
In Christ – Rev. Elizabeth Moreau – © 2019