The Light of Christ: An Antidote to the Coldness of the World
When I was a child, we often visited family members from the afternoon to the late evening. Then we would drive home. As I’m sure many of us can attest, the purr of an engine can turn seemingly infinite energy into sudden sleepiness. My eyes would open and close like blinds until they couldn’t resist sleep anymore.
But something would dare to interrupt my slumber and my eyes would peel open. It was the bright orange lights on the M1 highway illuminating the road in front of us. All around me, the daylight trees had grown into blobs of black in the night. Altogether, they were a sea of darkness. The streetlights floated like boats on the water; they were blue, green, red and white. There were patches of darkness, as if the light had swum away and abandoned unfavourable corners. But the lights would show themselves again and reveal many paths from which to choose.
In John’s Gospel, the opening chapter is a poetic account of the Incarnation of Christ. He tells us: “What came to be through him was life and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it” (Jn 1:3-5). Too often these words become just a nice sentiment to put on fridge magnets, but I imagine that if we thought more deeply about it, we might just…see the light?
When the sun rises in the early morning, its light slowly creeps in and reveals the folds of my duvet cover and the creases in the pillows. Suddenly, I’m reminded of where I left my shoes. I also feel comforted that the shadows are fading away. The light of Christ is something like this. At times, it comes in gently and in small openings where we allow the Lord to enter.
Change of season
The change of season has me holding on to the few warm days that are still left before winter sets in. I enjoy sitting under an awning or a tree and absorbing the warmth. Again, the light of Christ feels quite the same. When we draw closer to it, its warmth is an antidote to the coldness of the world.
In the pride that comes with youth and in the confidence of being invincible, I once stared into the sun. I was wearing 3D glasses (yes, the ones you wear to the cinema) and for some reason I thought they would protect me. Needless to say, those few seconds hurt my eyes, but I’m okay now, and to the best of my knowledge, my vision is still sharp.
It has often occurred to me that the light of Christ, which is truth, has troubled my gaze. The apostle John goes on to say: “And the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14). Perhaps the meaning of life is to become worthy of beholding this grace and truth without fear of the light?
Let your truth fill us with hope
For life in heaven forever
May it reveal the devil’s rope
And ties to sin may it sever
To this dark world, Lord shine your light
Make bright the darkness of our souls
Be a lamp in this long night
And a fire amidst the cold.
This article was published in the May, 2021 issue of The Southern Cross magazine
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