Light of life banishes winter dark

Father Simon Hughes (picture by Mark Rodgers)
Father Simon Hughes (picture by Mark Rodgers)

It has been just over a month now since the Winter Solstice on December 21 last year and I’ve become aware that the daylight is lasting just that little bit longer – thank goodness!

Winter can be very hard for us here with its dark and dreich days; I can’t imagine what it must be like living in Norway, with months and months on end of darkness!

In the Roman Catholic community, we have only just finished celebrating Christmas.

Christmas, like Easter, is not just one day but many days and weeks – a single celebration that stretches out and out.

And throughout Christmas time, we celebrate the wonderful light that is Jesus, the Son of God, entering our world and all that it means to be human.

In the ancient creeds of the Church, God is described as Light and the Son of God as ‘Light from Light’.

To symbolise this light entering into our darkness (and into the darkness of human life), we light more and more candles throughout Advent as we prepare for the Christmas event.

A few candles certainly can’t provide much light! But we do so as an expression of hope that darkness, gradually and finally, will be driven away by the light.

On Easter night, we do exactly the same thing.

All those who are baptised light their own candle from the big Easter Candle and, when everyone has a light in front of them, the world looks an entirely different place and the whole community and church building is lit up in a very special way.

All that we do in our worship in the Roman Catholic Church revolves around these two great celebrations – Christmas and Easter.

Both of these are celebrations of the Light that is Jesus and invitation to all people of all cultures and languages to open our hearts to that Light, so that our own interior darknesses can be transformed and we can become light for others.

Why not welcome that Light into your own heart today?

May God who is Light bless you and light up your life.