I woke up early and made my way to the kitchen in darkness so deep I could feel it. The soft light that usually glows in the hallway was out. I inched my way along, afraid of knocking into something or falling down.
I felt rather than saw the corner, and turning it my eye was drawn to a faint glow on the ceiling. The moon? I couldn’t tell. But it was just enough to steady me, restore my senses. What must it be like to be blind?
“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.” Matthew quotes Isaiah’s prophecy as he launches into his account of Jesus’s earthly ministry. It brings to mind not just the exiles Isaiah wrote about, but the people of Egypt who sat in daytime darkness while the sun shone on the nearby children of Israel. It reminds us of the magi who followed a star to find Jesus. They rejoiced when they saw the star. When they found the One to whom it pointed, they poured out their treasures and worshiped.
All this past week since we heard about the magi and celebrated Epiphany Sunday, the Mass readings have drawn our attention to the light Jesus brings into the world. I think of that glow on the ceiling, which steadied me and drew me to its source (it turned out to be not the moon, but a printer someone left on!). In a similar way, the “glow” of Jesus’s presence — the instruction and encouragement of his Word; his healing; his provision; his mercy and love — all these things are given to draw us not just to them, as ends in themselves, but to Him. To the Source.
Sometimes the world seems as dark to me as my house did, this morning. Jesus himself can be hidden from view. In those times, I’m grateful for the reflected light that comes to me through friends; through “God moments” that signal his presence; through remembering the guidance and mercy and love he’s show to me in the past; and through his Word through which I hear his voice calling my name and speaking into my life.
“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:4-5, emphasis mine).
Come into the Word . . .
As the season of Christmas draws to a close, take some time to reflect on how these three passages, which I pulled from this week’s readings, reflect the light of Jesus (don’t miss the time of day in both readings from Mark. What difference does that make?) —
If you read along with the Magnificat or similar publication, look also at the other readings this week including those for Morning and Evening prayer, and take note of the entrance antiphons, collects, and prayers. For example, the Collect for Thursday after Epiphany:
O God, who through your Son raised up your eternal light for all nations,
Grant that your people may come to acknowledge the full splendor of their Redeemer,
that, bathed ever more in his radiance, they may reach everlasting glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever, Amen.
May the Lord bless you and shine his light upon your way as you read his Word.
© 2020 Sarah Christmyer
Joan Schmidt says
Thank you for your insight for the readings. I read this at a time when I needed consolation and it helped me a great deal.