“A Child of the Light”
Dear brothers and sisters of St. Andrew’s, and to our friends and family, near and far – Grace and Peace to you through our Lord Jesus Christ: A few nights ago, Martha and I finished putting the lights on our Christmas tree. While this is not Alice’s first Christmas, this is her first Christmas when she is fully and – shall I add -- energetically mobile. Martha and I sat on the couch while Alice literally “OOH and AHH’d” at the now brightly shining tree. My fondest memory of that night will be that of Alice standing in front of the tree with a Christmas-tree light in her hand holding it close to her lips trying to blow it out. Try and try as she did, she could not extinguish the light. The light continued to burn giving light to the darkened room.
As we enter the 2019 Christmas Season, we reflect on the Light that shines in the darkness – Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Before long, at our 11:00 p.m. Christmas Eve Service, we will sit in a partially darkened church with only the light of candles shining and remember the words of St. John the Evangelist “What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:3c-5). We remember that the heart of the Good News of Jesus Christ is the undying, unyielding light of Christ that scatters the darkness of the world and puts death to flight.
We continue to live in a world where there is darkness. While we may each see and experience the darkness of the world differently, the Light that we seek, the Light that seeks us, the light that pierces the darkness, remains steady, constant, almighty, and true. Just as a light in the heavens heralded the birth of Jesus and guided those seeking him to find him, the Light of Christ still guides us today – but only if we choose to let it guide us. Are we will to accept the discipline and the sacrifices that walking in the Light of Christ require?
When we walk in the Light of Christ, Christ takes us to places, both in our heart and in our world that may challenge us. The Light of Christ illuminates the cracks and fissures, the hatred and division, the hurt and fear in the world. The light of Christ shines on our own personal weaknesses, limitations; places of hurt, want, and yearning. Yet, we know that through Christ there is no place too far, no darkness too deep that Christ’s light cannot reach and heal.
Our Christmas celebrations remind us of the source of this Light. Christ illuminates us with his love – without asking if we deserve his love. Christ illuminates us with his hope – without evaluating our worthiness for hope. Christ illuminates us with his mercy – without demanding our pleading for pleading. We are never left to the darkness. We are not overlooked by the light: we become part of the light, and we are to find ways to reflect the grace and love and Light of Christ back into the world.
May the Light of Christ burn brightly for each of you this Christmas Season and drive far from you and all creation the darkness of this world.
The Reverend T. Grant Ambrose
Rector, St. Andrew’s York, PA.