Go down any block this time of year, and you will see houses, stores and offices all lit up for Christmas. For us Christians, these lights are more than decorations or antidotes for Seasonal Affective Disorder. They symbolize the coming of Christ, the Light of the World, who alone can free us from the dark cloud of sin and the shadow of death that rob us of our joy and peace.
Right now we are certainly a people who walk in darkness. In this pandemic we are surrounded by sickness and death. It has taken away many of our familiar routines and practices, as we face constant fear and anxiety for ourselves and those we care about. Piled on top of that is the economic devastation that has hit so many, the intense acrimony and divisions in our society, and the painful manifestations of the racism and other injustices so deeply embedded in our culture. It has not been an easy year.
That is why we need the message of Christmas, that in Jesus Christ God has entered our world to give us light and hope. He did not come in glory, but humbly took on our frail human nature to share with us our weakness and vulnerability. Yet hidden though he was, he was found by those whose minds and hearts were open, who acknowledged their need and turned to God for help.