One of the most moving and exciting things I have ever experienced was the night sky over the Andes. In that dark night sky the milky way, which I could see quite clearly, was literally breath-taking. The sky has to be dark to see the night sky properly but up in the mountains it is; and the stars shine more intensely. And so it is, in the heart of winter the lights are brighter. Christmastide, in deepest December, shines so brightly for us all – not just the Christmas trees, nor the decorations lighting the streets, but everything glows with an intensity suggesting even at this dark time, especially at this dark time, the birth of Jesus speaks to us all of light, glorious light. The author of the fourth Gospel puts it this way:
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it!
For the ancient believers, the coming of Jesus gave them not just light, but great hope too. Their world was in great anguish and darkness. And yet God is revealed to the common people and to foreigners. Shepherds, the nobodies, out in the fields, away from the community, lonely, on the edge of things; it is to them that the angels first sing: “Glory to God in the highest!” For the Wise Men, foreigners, travelling from fardistant, lands, God is revealed to them, with a star, lighting and guiding their way, leading them to Bethlehem.
In this tough year for so many, surely the bright light of Christmas is something to celebrate as God guides us and gives us all hope!