Dear Fathers, Brothers, Sisters in Christ,
I do write a new commandment to you … for the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. (1 John 2:8)
Are you still basking in the glow of Christmas? Perhaps midnight Mass was especially uplifting this year. Or a Christmas concert still has you singing under your breath. Maybe you got to spend quality time with some family members you seldom see, or someone really appreciated the gift you chose for him or her.
These are all instances of “darkness passing away” so that the “true light,” the light of Christ, can shine in your life (1 John 2:8).
Sooner or later, we will take the lights off our trees. The nativity set will go back into its box for another year. We will carefully wrap the ornaments and put away the memories they represent. It’s fine to hold on to those memories, by the way, as well as the happy memories we just made this Christmas. But don’t forget what John tells us here. Lasting light is already shining. With the birth of Christ, something radically new has entered our world. Something—Someone—has filled us with hope and pointed us in a new direction. So besides looking back with gratitude, we can look forward joyfully to the day when we will be in heaven, filled with God’s grace and healed of every wound sin has ever inflicted on us.
Don’t make the mistake of boxing up the gift of Jesus’ presence and putting it away until next year—or even next Sunday. Your life may seem to go on as usual after the end of the Christmas season, but because Jesus has been born into our world and into your heart, everything is new. Nothing can ever be the same.
It may sound like the same old commandment, “Love one another.” But because God has come to live among us, loving one another is no longer just a shining aspiration. It’s a very real possibility. Christ is in you, and he really can reach out to everyone around you. Give him the chance. It doesn’t take much to start, just a kind gesture or a word of encouragement.
“Jesus, your presence is the greatest gift of all. Help me to live in the light of your love today.”
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne
Bendigo - Australia