A Light in the Darkness

Some days it can be hard to have hope. School shootings. Missing children. Domestic violence. Global terrorism. Climate change. Cancer; it seems always another person has gotten cancer. Mental Illness. Suicide. A college Freshman told me she has lost three high school classmates to suicide. If that isn’t a sign of hopelessness, I don’t know what is. You might think this is a terrible place to start a Christmas letter. But this is exactly where the first Christians placed Christmas: on the darkest day of the year. God looked down on us and saw a world grown cold and dark. He knew that there was only one answer: we needed the warmth of His love and the light of His truth. Jesus is the Light of the World. He came to give us light and true life, and yes, hope in our hopelessness. He was not afraid to enter into our sinful, broken world. Jesus is not afraid of the dark.

You might think his mission failed. It’s been 2000 years and there’s still just as much darkness as ever. Maybe more. Is the Light of Christ not strong enough or bright enough? Is Baby Jesus just not powerful enough to face the forces of Darkness? Come Easter, we will celebrate the Victory of our King over the forces of darkness. The problem is not in Jesus, or in the world. The problem is in your heart and mine. We often prefer the darkness to the light. It is more familiar and more comforting. It gives us the illusion that we can be in control. Heart after heart has grown dark from sin and cold with selfishness. Until the light of God’s love seems all but extinguished around us.

God’s light is no less powerful than it ever was. The same light that filled the hearts of the first believers is waiting to change your heart. It may seem small only because we are distant from Him. If you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. If you love Him, He will come and make His dwelling within you. Your heart will be filled with Jesus’ warmth even on the coldest days. Your life will be guided by His light no matter how dark the world is. You will grow and glow and your heart will bring His light to others. He wants us to draw near and be with Him not just this one day of the year, but all 366 days of this leap year. Jesus is not afraid of your darkness. Are you afraid of His Light?

Your brother in Christ,
+Fr. Joel