After so much darkness these days, including COVID-19, the rancorous elections, social distancing, quarantining, loss of jobs, businesses closing, and so much more, I am looking forward to the holidays where we are once again reminded about the spiritual aspects of our lives where we can turn to our faith to find solace and hope for the future. We seem so mired in the fear of these past several months that it is time to come out of the darkness and look to the light. I love to think of us, all of us, the way Jesus speaks of us in the Gospels: We are the light of the world. He says that he is the light of the world and we too can be just such a light by being and doing good.
It just occurred to me that in some ways, it may be more difficult to turn to our churches, synagogues, or temples to find our holiday light this year as many such places have not been open to us during the pandemic. We have services in our main chapel here on the campus, but the laity have not been permitted to attend. It is so strange looking around the chapel and seeing the Sisters with masks on, socially distanced from one another and hearing muffled singing and praying. What I enjoy at the end of each service are the small groups of Sisters who chat with one another, showing our natural tendency to want to speak with one another, socially distanced of course.
Perhaps this holiday season will help us to take a look at what our holidays are really all about. Do we really need another thing, another shopping list to conquer, another party to plan, a family gathering (it’s my turn!), or some other holiday requirement that now may be difficult if not impossible to pull off? What is the real meaning of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, and do these feasts require so much material preparation, or can we see them in a new light and offer a new way to celebrate and reach out to others?
My gift to you is the Prayer of the Christophers, which contains some practical suggestions to celebrate the holidays this year and perhaps a way to live together in the future:
Gracious God, grant that I may be a
bearer of Christ Jesus, your Son.
Allow me to change the world for the
Make me more energetic in setting right
what I find wrong with the world instead of complaining about it.
Nourish in me a practical desire to build up
rather than tear down, to reconcile
instead of polarize, to go out on a
limb rather than crave security.
Never let me forget that it is far better
to light one candle than to curse the
darkness, and to join my light, one
day, with yours. Amen.