5th Day within the Octave of the Nativity
The Church has always portrayed the birth of Jesus as “the coming of the light” into the world. Christ is the light of the world and of our lives. As St. John says, “The darkness is over and the real light begins to shine.”
Simeon understood this meaning of the birth of Jesus. Holding the infant in his arms, Simeon cried out, “My own eyes have seen the salvation which you prepared in the sight of every people, a light to reveal you to the nations and the glory of your people Israel.” With this light to lead him, Simeon was willing to make the passage through the dark, awesome doors of death. He could already sense his death but he was not afraid to face it because he could see “the light at the end of the tunnel.” With absolute confidence he said to God, “Lord, now let your servant go in peace…”
As I said in one of homilies during Christmas Day, Jesus came, not just to bring us light, but to be the Light of Hope. Jesus is the Light that can dispel the darkness of selfishness and self-centeredness in our lives. He is the Light that can banish the darkness of bitterness and unforgiveness in our hearts. He is the Light that can eliminate the darkness of despair and hopelessness. He is the Light that can overcome the darkness of envy and jealousy. He is the Light that can remove the darkness of guilt and regret. He is the Light that can drive away the darkness of sadness. He is the Light that can scatter the darkness of materialism. Faith in Jesus is not a leap into the dark; it is a step into the light.
Christmas has come and gone once more for us, but we must not forget its great meaning: Jesus is the light of our lives. He is the one who, through his teachings in the Gospel, give meaning and purpose to our very ordinary lives. I can think of nothing worse than to have no purpose in life, no direction, only confusion and frustration. With Jesus himself to guide, we should with confidence live each day of our lives until that great day when it will be time for us to say, “Lord, now let your servant go in peace…”