Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Vigil of the Nativity of our Lord

Exodus 33:12-23, 34:5-7
Psalm 48

Isaiah 9:2-7
Psalm 19

Micah 5:2-5a
Psalm 45

1 John 1:1-9
Psalm 2

John 1:1-18

REFLECTION: “Divine Light”

Brothers and sisters, tonight we hear in our readings of the light that enlightens the world, the light of hope, peace, joy, and renewal. We hear of the Light of Jesus Christ.

Light is a central element in the story of creation, being the first 'vocalization' God utters towards his creation. From that moment forth, God calls his people to walk in his pure light. Of course, we know all to well of the darkness into which the human race was plunged through the choice of Adam and Eve, a choice to walk in the pathway of darkness and not in the bright light of God's presence. Just as a plant withers and dies when plunged into utter darkness, so the souls of the people withered... and all those things that Christ's light bears, hope, peace, joy, and renewal, became scare upon the earth.

And yet, from the moment of the fall, new life, new light, was promised. Tonight, in the words of Isaiah and John, the light is realized. The light which is our life enters into the world, pitching a tent among us, in fulfillment of that promise.

I could go on and on tonight on this theme, but sometimes, being succinct is best. Equally good, at times, is recognizing that someone else can say better than you what you want to say, so I want to leave you with these words, from a sermon preached by Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, the Bishop of Constantinople, who died in the year 389. I think they are some of the most moving words concerning the Word Incarnate that I have ever heard. They certainly shed light, pun moderately intended, on the great mystery we acclaim tonight:

Light from light, the Word of the Father comes to his own image, in the human race. For the sake of my flesh he takes flesh; for the sake of my soul he is united to a rational soul, purifying like by like. In every way he becomes human, except for sin. O strange conjunction! The Self-existent comes into being; the Uncreated is created. He shares in the poverty of my flesh, that I may share in the riches of his Godhead.

Indeed, Christ is born, taking our flesh that we might be united with him. This is the Christmas mystery, a mystery we gather tonight to celebrate in Word and in Sacrament. May Christ's light enlighten your soul this night, and kindle within you the hope, peace, joy, and renewal that God promised in the Garden, so very long ago.