All is calm, all is bright
Even as a child I recalled the slight inconstancy in the lyrics of the song Silent Night. If it were night how could it be bright? Of course the answer was the glow from the baby Jesus, something like the glow-in-the-dark Sacred Heart statue I had in my bedroom as child. Of course bright does not only indicate light, it indicates importance and direction, as in the phrase a bright idea. The brightness of that first Christmas was not about visual light, that light was, as we learned in sophomore English class, expressed an allegory: an image that had a deeper significance. And of course the significance of the Christmas light is that Christ is the light that takes us to God the Father, a light that continues to shine in Christ’s church. Now at times that light may seem to dim, and at times not be there at all, but if we are looking to find God’s light in the form of carbon arc lights or fireworks look somewhere else. God’s brightness usually is seen in the smallest of things. The gospel of Luke excels in pointing out how small things, like a grain of wheat or baby in a manger, bring about the Kingdom of God. Thinking of the light of Christmas and why Christ came should take us to Holy Week, and particularly Jesus’ Passion and Resurrection. We recall how, on Holy Saturday night, one single candle enters the church and soon the light is shared with everyone in the church until the church is a mass of light, one candle at a time.
The idea that God is with us, even in times of darkness should make us a little calmer, even during the Christmas season.