Christmas Reflections

The First Sunday After Christmas Day

This post was originally posted on my church’s blog, a reflection on the Collect of the Day.

Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Christmas for us comes in the darkest month of the year. In this season, some of us leave for work when it is dark, and come home when the sun has already set. What makes these long nights bearable for me is the Christmas lights that brighten houses and porches. I love seeing them come out in November and don’t mind if they stay out until February. It adds joy to this dreary season.

In Advent we waited with anticipation for the coming of Christ – while also looking towards the second coming. In Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the incarnate Word, the light poured upon us, upon our dark world. In the midst of pain, suffering, illness, and despair – the incarnation is our beacon of light reminding us that He will make all things new. One day, winter will pass and spring, with all its promise of new life, will come.

Just as Jesus was Light to the darkness of the world, so too, we are called to bring the light of Christ to our worlds. It is easy to see this light brightly shining through the lives of people like Mother Teresa, who committed her days to caring for the dying on the streets of Calcutta. We see it, too, shining in the lives of friends in our community – as we see them work for peace or bring joy to others. Just as Christmas lights brighten the long, dark nights of winter, God has chosen to use us as his instruments of Christ’s light in the midst of a dark world, to strive for peace and justice, to love sacrificially, to serve our friends, family, and neighbors. Knowing that we can’t do this on our own, or without experiencing the love and grace of God, in this collect, we pray that God “enkindles” this light in our own hearts and to let it “shine forth in our lives.”