What does light have to do with life?
How do you brighten the darkness of life?
The month of December is usually thought of as a countdown: There are so many shopping days left until Christmas! Yet December offers us a gift – the Season of Advent, with four weeks to prepare our hearts to celebrate the Solemnity of the Birth of Christ our Lord.
Since the Old Testament times, Isaiah promised that a light was coming into the world. Isaiah 9:1 proclaims: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.” But unfortunately with the winter holidays being such a busy time of year with very high expectations, people can feel a little down regardless of this prophecy of hope. Isaiah’s testimony helps us to persevere in faith during a hectic time of year until that time when the light of Christ will fully come into the world.
The winter season in the Northern Hemisphere is a period when we see diminished sunlight and feel less solar warmth. It is a scientifically proven fact that when our human skin senses less light and warmth, that we can start to feel as gloomy as the weather. Some people experience the holiday blues as a seasonal depression, especially the elderly and shut-ins who may not have many visitors. Be aware of this situation in your own life (if you are feeling blue) or in the lives of your friends and relatives who could use a little cheering up by a phone call or a Christmas card.
Advent can be a joyful season of expectation that unites people for special celebrations and for spiritual renewal. But if you live in a society that is highly commercialized and busy, it might take some special efforts to stay focused on the light of Christ being born into the world. For that reason, Advent calls for the virtue of perseverance to help us keep faithful to our Christian life-giving projects and goals. You may need to fortify your determination to continue to do good works and stay spiritually focused at this time of year.
Here are three ways to keep the light burning brightly during Advent: 1) Persevere in prayer by remembering that God is near. Make prayer a habit where you stay connected to the Lord of Life who desires a deeper relationship with you. 2) Persevere in hope regardless of what may come your way. In times of stress, people are tempted to despair and think that God has abandoned them. Trust that God will save you and fulfill the salvation that has been promised us. 3) Persevere in good works of charity. Acts of love are a sign that the Kingdom of God is being built up by words and deeds. More than anything, charity brings concrete meaning to the Church’s Advent expectation.
Today’s Good News is that Jesus is being born into our lives and into the world. A light is coming to dispel the darkness. As Isaiah says, “For a child is born to us” (Isaiah 9:6). May the light of Christ coming into the world shine brightly in your life!
MISSIO offers themed-quizzes in MissioBot to examine your religious knowledge - and this blog by Father Leo Perez, OMI to reflect on questions of mission and faith.