“The Light of Christ”
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
As we gather on this Christmas Eve via zoom and Facebook and YouTube and in person, I invite you now to take a moment to reflect back on how you have been this past year.
For many of us there have been some not so good moments. Under the weight of isolation, the pressure of working and managing kids at home, the anxiety over catching this virus, in the immense grief and loss of loved ones, under the devastation of racism, through the frustrations of purelling and wearing a mask all the time, with the aggravations of cancelled trips and sub-par ways of doing school, through all of this we have had some rough moments, times when we acted in ways that we probably did not like…
But, we have also had perhaps some of our best moments when we were pushed to well past our limit and somehow, some way we made it through. We combatted the isolation of quarantine with a puzzle, a doll house, baking, a new dog. We went out of our way to help our neighbors giving out toilet paper of all things when supplies were low, grocery shopping for the most vulnerable, calling a friend to offer support. We stood on our porches and clapped for health care workers. We went into work on the frontlines even when we were terrified. We sat with our kids who were angry and sad and helped them process something we did not even know how to process. We had tough conversations with one another and listened deeply to one another.
This year, we have had some of our worst moments and some of our most outstanding moments. Perhaps this week has been one of the hardest for you, perhaps it has been one of the best, or perhaps it is somewhere in between… but know this you made it here. Somehow you made it and you made it not just through a hard year #ugh2020, you have made it through one of the darkest periods in human history. I know that it is not over yet. We are not all the way through this yet, but take a moment to look back at all you have made it through. Take a moment and look at all that you survived. We have been through so much and yet somehow we are still standing.
I’ve focused a lot this year in my messages on positive mental health strategies that we find in our scripture and that have recently been the subject of many research studies. We have looked at the characteristics of resilience, the importance of grief and self-care, the positive benefits of meditation, gratitude and giving. Over the summer we studied peaceful, non-violent communication.
And although these strategies are all important. These strategies are only part of the equation.
Strategies helped us some…
But the question is not really about what techniques we used to make it through this year…The question is actually much deeper than that…
The question is really how do human beings ever keep going in the face of such hardship?
How have human beings moved through war, the plague, slavery, the potato famine, the great depression?
And how have you made it through all the challenges, all the stress, all the hardship of Covid 19?
Our scripture tells us that all things came into being through the Word of God. “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.”
We all came into being through the light of Christ. In our creation we passed through Jesus’ hands and were given light that darkness cannot overcome.
Even death….even the leading cause of death in the united states right now, even the new strain in the UK, even hate, even the greatest sin and darkness cannot snuff out this light that is within us all in our creation.
So I wonder…. Are you aware of the light that is within you? Have you noticed it? It is easy in the whir of life and the intensity of a crisis to lose track of the light.
Sometimes to notice this light of Christ … all we need to do is stop and look back over our year.
Sometimes all we need to do is see those moments when the light brought us through.
Everything that came into being… came into being through the light of Christ… And it is that light that keeps us moving forward despite anything and everything that is going on around us.
It is the light of Christ that propels us forward no matter what.
And when you become aware of the light of Christ that is within you, the light that gave you the strength to go on … that is the heart of faith that we celebrate today.
The word of God came to live among us as a child. The word of God came into this world as a newborn to show us the light.
“Silent night. Holy night. Radiant beams from thy Holy face. Jesus, Lord at thy birth.”
So this Christmas Eve in this dark winter, I encourage you to reconnect with the light of Christ that is within you, the light that came down to live among us and give us new life, the light that kept you going all year, the light that will continue to keep you going no matter what lies ahead, the light that shines in the darkness and the light that will not be overcome by this or any other darkness.