As a way to share joy and light with others who are struggling to cope during the pandemic, many of the homes in our neighborhood have had their Christmas lights up and turned on since May. In a way, these lights have been a bright spot and continue to offer a joyful reminder that even on the darkest of days, light will return once again and always remain. Illuminating the paths for Christ’s return, the lights that now adorn our homes or our Advent wreaths and Christmas trees are also reminders that Christ will return again soon to “fill the hungry with good things,” offering mercy to those who are in most need of it (Lk 1:46-54).
Another important, sometimes forgotten, role that these lights continue to fulfill amidst the beauty that they bring to our homes and our neighborhoods, is that these lights are also a reminder of our responsibility as baptized Christians to be, as the Gospel of John says, “testimonies to the Light” (Jn 1:6-8). That is, no matter where we go, who we encounter, or even the journeys we are called to endure, we are, as this week’s readings remind us, to pave the way for Christ’s return, to be the light that illuminates the path towards him.
As a mom in the midst of yet another busy holiday season, it is easy to forget about the light that I carry. Among the present-buying, remembering to celebrate the feast days of the season, and preparing holiday feasts, it seems that at times the light of Christ is shadowed by all of the distractions of the season. Sometimes I feel like I am scurrying through the holiday season carrying the light of Christ much like a flashlight that I struggle with in order to illuminate the way forward for my children as they journey down a rocky trail. How in the world am I to do it all? Prepare the holiday season for joyful celebration in my home, stay connected to the reason for it all, while still preparing the way of our Lord?
The beauty of this week’s readings is that not only do they remind us of the light that we are to share, but they also share the reasons why we should rejoice in this season, even when it does not look like what we imagined or hope it to be. Because the Lord has anointed me to carry his light and share it with others, my spirit rejoices (Is 6:1-2). And it is for this reason that even in the midst of a rather unusual holiday season, I must continue to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in all circumstances, give thanks” (Th 5:16-24). Because no matter what is happening in the world around us, the light continues to shine, even if it appears uneven at times. His Light continues to shine. And that is the hopeful joy and the joyful hope that I wish to share with all moms who are finding it hard to see or share the Light of Christ in the midst of darkness. The Light of Christ still shines forth.
Rejoice in God, for his Son is coming. May his light forever shine onward through you as you guide your children towards him. May you and yours have a blessed Gaudete Sunday!