And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage. – Matthew 2:1-12
Light is such a powerful image. It calls at us, it beckons us, and it stirs us.
Those of us who live in the Northern hemisphere maybe appreciate light a bit more during the winter months. Even with all the technology we have with lights and electricity there is still something powerful about a light piercing the darkness.
The other night I went for a walk and wondered into park. The park was dark with only a few lamps scattered near the entrance. In the distance I saw Christmas lights on a tree and I knew I needed to go. They were calling me, they were drawing me in, they were saying, “Come and see.” So I went. I walked and walked though dark parks, through a gorge, up through streets lit with street lights; as I went noticing homes that had Christmas lights in windows, in front bushes, along walk ways.
The first Christmas lights that called to me were from a tall evergreen; white lights wrapped from top to bottom. It was majestic and magnificent and yet called me to go on. So I went on. The next sets of lights were strung in the bare branches of trees that hung over several yards and the street. Multi-colored and beautiful they seemed to surround me and called me to let go of all that was on my mind. I was moved with delight and joy. I was filled with the Christmas amazement that we know as children. I was speechless and yet tried to express how amazing were these simple lights creating a glowing canopy. The gift of wonder and awe took hold of me. I just took it all in, stood under the trees, moved around them, smiled, it was like the world and all its noise disappeared. I was caught up in light and yet these lights seemed to say, “There is more. Go on. Seek and discover.” So I went on. I noticed more homes with lights, Christmas trees still aglow peeking through windows, hedges still twinkling the way. I journeyed on around a bend and noticed lights in the distance. White lights, bright lights, lots of them seeming to make a path. The closer I drew the more lights there seemed to be and they truly were lining a way. A construction site with white lights marking the fenced off area yet greeting me with “Merry Christmas” and then a break in the lights and a pathway emerged and on the other side more lights leading to this pathway and yet blocking off the other construction site. I was so taken by these lights that I hadn’t looked down the pathway when I did I saw another majestic tree wrapped with white lights from bottom to top. I then noticed an angel atop a building and a star/cross as well which led me to a nativity scene made of lights.
“Come and See” echoed in my ears. I trod up this path; surrounded by the white lights blocking off the construction site, to the nativity scene. I smiled again with even greater delight. I paused in a quiet moment that can only be described as prayer and then whispered thank you. I was filled up. Wonder and awe seemed to overflow. Like the Bethlehem star of long ago these lights led me to the manger. I indeed was grateful for this moment and the reminder that God breaks into our darkness, that God’s love is a piercing light and that God is light and Jesus – our Emmanuel – is the Light of the World. It was in this moment I came to appreciate even more Isaiah’s (60:1-6) wisdom and challenge, “Arise, shine for your light has come.”
Where has light pierced the darkness of our lives?
As we look back on 2017 who were light bearers on the journey?
As we begin 2018 how can we carry light into the world?
Epiphany is the transition feast which calls us from the gifts of Christmas to bring our gifts and light into the world. Can we do it?
you call us to life and into your light,
may we radiate you and shine forth
your love, mercy, goodness and joy.
We know your star continually guides us to you,
thank you also for the other lights that light the way.
We pray for courage to walk from Christmas with its gifts
and share them and your light with the world.