Christmas and light go very much together; Advent candles, Magi following the star, lights on the Christmas tree. All of this imagery prepares us to welcome Jesus, the only true light.

It may seem obvious to say it but light shines only in darkness, the stars are only seen during the darkness of night. In eternity there will be no more night and we will not need the light of a lamp or sun, because the Lord God will be our only light (cf. Rev 22:5), however in this life light and darkness will always co-exist; this side of eternity light will always be light that shines in the darkness.

The light of faith always shines through the darkness of fear and unbelief, the light of hope always shines through the darkness of disappointment, grief and despair. The light of heaven, Jesus, is given freely by the Father to our world that is still in darkness and shadow in so many ways, and shines into it and through it, like a star piercing the darkness of the night.

Christmas can provide us all with an opportunity to reflect on where we need to invite the light of Christ anew into our hearts.

Into what darkness do I need to welcome the Light this Christmas?

Those who are seeking the Sacraments are allowing themselves to be enlightened by Christ and their witness can inspire and remind us of this grace. Their example can challenge us to ask ourselves whether we are continually allowing ourselves to be enlightened. Through reflection on Scripture those preparing to receive the Sacraments are discovering God’s Word as a lamp for their feet and a light for their path, as they journey in faith towards the light of the Easter Vigil and the enlightenment of baptism (cf. CCC 1216). Through their example each of us can be led anew to humbly acknowledge that we too need that precious light to shine ever more brightly in our hearts and minds.

The Gospel Acclamation, based on the O Antiphon, for the 24th December puts it well for us:

‘Morning star, radiance of eternal light, sun of justice,
come and enlighten those who live in darkness… ’

We could make this our prayer, in the hope that this Christmas we too may discover anew the joy of being the “people that walked in darkness who have seen a great light.” (cf. Isaiah 9:1-2)