The winter days bother me, not so much because of the cold,
but because of the darkness.
And so I am blissfully grateful when I can notice the days blessing us with more light.
But light is also a metaphor, for as Milton writes in Pilgrim’s Progress,
He that has light within his own clear breast
May sit i’the centre, and enjoy bright day:
but he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts
Benighted walks under the midday sun;
Himself is his own dungeon.
Through Jesus Christ, the One who is the Light of the world has shined the beams of faith, hope, and love into the darkness that has plagued humankind. Rather than allowing fear to darken the day, we can open our eyes to see the light of Christ that is directing our path toward the promised kingdom, where the injustices suffered by the poor and needy can be remedied, and where we can reflect the light that ushers in peace in abundance and a life free of violence and oppression in every form.
Accordingly the letter to the Ephesians reminds us that in spite of the economic uncertainty that can potentially darken our lives and the geopolitical tensions that obscure the dawn of a new reality, we are called to live as children of light. The light of God gleams through us with the kind of sudden brightness that lights up the landscape of a mind or a community or a whole social order, and it inspires us to proclaim the incarnational truth that was communicated through the life of Christ. In fact, because all believers are called to reflect the light of our Lord, Jesus even tells us in the Sermon on the Mount – “You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). Consequently, we as the church of Jesus Christ are summoned to work for the elimination of poverty and hunger, to demonstrate the warmth of unity, to promote gender equality and em-power women, to reduce child mortality, to combat the diseases that afflict human-kind, and to ensure environmental sustainability.
So, as we begin this new decade, let us open our eyes and be enlightened by what God is revealing to us . . . let us offer all our gifts humbly, honoring every part of creation . . . and let God’s light shine brightly through our words and actions, as we discover anew what it means to be a Christian and how God desires to work in us and through us.