Christmas Day 2020 – Can I be a Light to Others?


             The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

This is a Christmas season unlike any other in our lifetimes. The age of COVID-19 continues to challenge both us, and our ways of celebrating this special time. It is a time when gatherings and hugs and kisses are so natural.

Will we be able to show our affection for loved ones in our customary ways? I’m writing this post in mid-November and am startled by the rising numbers. I doubt that we will conquer this by December 25.

We hear plenty in the scripture readings today about light and how it casts out darkness. With Christmas Day, we move to a celebration of the light that has come into the world with the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Regardless of whether you celebrate at Midnight Mass, the Mass at Dawn, or Mass During the Day, you will encounter images of light. Isaiah speaks of how,

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light: those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shone. Luke’s proclamation of the birth of Jesus features the glory of the Lord shining around the shepherds. Psalm 97 reminds us, A light will shine on us this day: The Lord is born for us. John’s Gospel proclaims the life of God that is the light of the human race. John the Baptist comes to testify to the true light.

Jesus is that light who shines in the dark corners of our personal lives and the world. Often the darkness surrounding us may seem much more powerful than the light in our world. That is very much the case as we near the end of 2020. However, as we hear in the beautiful opening of John’s Gospel, the light shines in the darkness and that light is much more powerful than the darkness.

There is a challenge in receiving the light of Christ. We cannot be mere passive recipients of that light. We are called to become light for others. Alone, we each may be only a single light. Joined together in the light of Christ, we can illuminate and transform our world.

How much we need that transformation in our world! There are far too many areas of darkness and they are not friendly or safe. They are places of fear and suspicion. Those corners may be in those secret places in our own hearts, corners that we ourselves may be unaware of. They may be in our personal, family or social history – corners that we know about but are reluctant to speak about.

The darkness is in some business and political leaders. There are dark and fearful global issues that seem so insurmountable to us. Whatever the dark corners, the Light of Christ can shed new life. It starts with us.

Saint Oscar Romero wrote beautiful pastoral letters when he was Archbishop of San Salvador. One letter includes a beautiful quote for Christmas.

No one can celebrate
a genuine Christmas
without being truly poor.
The self-sufficient, the proud,
those who, because they have
everything, look down on others,
those who have no need
even of God – for them there
will be no Christmas.
Only the poor, the hungry,
those who need someone
to come on their behalf,
will have that someone.
That someone is God.
Emmanuel.  God-with-us.
Without poverty of spirit
there can be no abundance of God.

Have a Merry and Blessed Christmas! All of the writers at igNation wish you and your loved ones the light and peace of this season. Let us be light for each other throughout this season and into 2021!  Stay safe and be vigilant.

Philip Shano, SJ has many years of rich and varied experience working with Ignatian spirituality: teaching, writing and using it in his ministry. He resides in the Jesuit community in Pickering, Ontario.

  • Bernice Dookhan-Khan
    Posted at 01:50h, 25 December Reply

    Thanks for this reflection Fr. Philip. May the light of Christ dispel all darkness. Merry Christmas full of blessings.

  • Sharon Walters
    Posted at 10:26h, 25 December Reply

    Thank you! You are a light for many of us!

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 11:00h, 25 December Reply

    Thank you Philip! Merry Christmas!

  • Richard Grover
    Posted at 11:00h, 25 December Reply

    Merry Christmas to you Phil. Loved yours and Romero’s wisdom.
    Also, Merry Christmas to you John, for providing a source of light 365 days a year.

  • Jim Radde
    Posted at 12:33h, 25 December Reply

    Merry Christmas Philip.

  • Grace Colella
    Posted at 21:25h, 25 December Reply

    Thank you in particular for the words of Saint Oscar Romero.
    And for being a light to us.

  • Daniel Marinovic
    Posted at 22:34h, 25 December Reply

    Thank you for a wonderful read Father Shano.

    Wishing you a very Blessed and Merry Christmas as well!

  • Lorraine Majcen
    Posted at 06:13h, 26 December Reply

    A blessed and happy Christmas to you Fr Philip. Thank you for reminding me of the importance and value of being a light to those around me. I appreciate the light you bring to me, through your writings.

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