The one thing that Christmas trees and Christmas cribs have in common is a star or an Angel on top whose light shines down upon all that is beneath. Whether Christmas star or Angel, its light illumines what otherwise would remain in shadow. It reveals delights and gifts, warmth and hope; but most especially it reveals a child who would be the light of the world.
Whether it was by the light from heaven glorifying the shepherds, or the light in the heavens guiding the Magi, both the lowly and the mighty were led to ‘the Light’, under which all people could find illumination. In the manger, among the animals, the baby Jesus would open the eyes of shepherd and magi alike, for they hoped for the gift of this light, who would shine for all.
Christmas is the living memory of the greatest gift we have ever been given: that of the Christ-child, Emmanuel, who is “God-with-us”. He is the great gift of hope at Christmas: the gift of a God who is with us, who loves us and binds us together in all that is worth living for - and who remains with us, through thick and thin.
The old and wizened men of Jesus’ nativity – Zechariah, husband of Elizabeth, and Simeon, the prophet in the temple – both learned to see by His light. For Zechariah, Jesus was God’s dawning light for those caught up in the shadows of death, and a guide for our feet on the way to peace. For Simeon, Jesus was the revealing light of salvation to all the nations and the hope of glory for God’s people.
May Jesus, child of God, son of Mary, and light to the nations, illumine the darkened regions of the world, and the shadowy places of the human heart. May we look to His light and find hope for our families, and for ourselves. May the light of Christmas – the light of Jesus – spread out its rays to bring reconciliation between enemies, to light up bridges over troubled waters; to reveal new ways towards renewed friendships.
A child; a light; a hope. May these be yours this Christmas.
—Archbishop Peter A Comensoli