Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Light that Leads Us

The Christmas Season is here. We are celebrating the birth of Jesus, the true Light who enlightens every human being, and who came into the world to dwell with us.

Jesus in the manger, with Mary and Joseph. The angels. The shepherds. And, in these days, the Kings are journeying to Bethlehem, with the light of a star leading them.

Christmas is a special time for children. The gift of God in Jesus Christ is reflected in the Christmas gifts, the bright decorations, the foods, the gathering together of families, and the expectation of a new year.

When we grow up, we may grow cynical. We may lose our faith. We may carry great burdens. Still, Christmas comes around every year. Even in difficult times, these days in December have a hold on us. They won't allow us to lose our sense of wonder.

But as we get older, the celebration of Christmas is more and more filled with memories that are precious and tender but also irrevocably past.

People who shaped this day for many years are no longer part of it. The present time, and (God willing) the times to come will bring fresh memories, but we become more aware of how fragile they are.

It is not so much that we learn to take nothing for granted. Rather, we learn that everything is, truly, granted. Everything is a gift. We pass through life, through time and pain and aching loss. Past memories and present suffering can cause us to weep, and we learn how poor we are in front of one another.

All of our gifts and all the efforts of our love fall short, and we cannot calm one another's restlessness.

Still our present moments and our memories have a warm glow like garland when we remember that they reflect the light that is leading us home.