Spirituality for Today – Winter 2016/2017 – Volume 21, Issue 3

Draw Near to the Light

Rev. Raymond K. Petrucci

An illustration of blurred green lights and a Christmas tree

Christmas holds an abundance of fascinations for a child's eyes; the expected gives way to the special. The streets of town suddenly are adorned with lights and greenery. Neighbor's homes and front lawns become dressed with Christmas delights. Although I am not one who has been gifted with the ability to maintain vivid and detailed memories of Christmas as a very young child, I do recall the attraction I had to the lights on the tree. I would lie near the base of the richly decorated tree and gaze at the colored lights. I remember being pleased and amazed that they were not hot to the touch like other light bulbs. Not one ornament and not the tree itself were of other worldly origin, but together they contained great mysteries of the feeling and of the meaning of the season. Now, as an old man, Christmas still awakens within me the necessity of being drawn to the light.

Darkness, in itself, is neither a fearful, nor a negative reality. The darkness that I refer to is the darkness that human beings invent for themselves. The history of mankind is replete with examples of this manner of darkness: war, terrorism, violent crime, domestic and sexual abuse, and all other injustices. These representations of a life devoid of light are, of course, a life devoid of love. That light bulb, steady or blinking, illuminates the coming of the Light of Christ. This light of peace, love, and salvation shines on the task of living and gives it guidance and insight. One aspect of this light is that "one size fits all" regarding the uniqueness of each human being. In spite of human frailty, each individual can create a presence of Christ's love and mercy in a rather singular way. Addressing the dark happenings in the world, the Savior's birth makes it possible for human beings to raise themselves to a nearly divine plane. A person possesses the capability to look with loving eyes at the world around him and, if not erase, mitigate the darkness through the willful use of that love–based vision. If we are a people striving to give evidence to the presence of the Holy Spirit's indwelling, we can become a truly loving and forgiving person because we cannot tolerate any darkness in our beings. What a message for those who market hatred and bloodshed as if they were adornments of character and acts of service to the Divine.

We look at life from the backside of the tapestry. And most of the time, what we see is loose threads, tangled knots and the like. But occasionally, God's light shines through the tapestry, and we get a glimpse of the larger design with God weaving together the darks and lights of existence.

John Piper

Even though the fulfillment of all of life's longings rests in a much brighter clime, acknowledgement of a command from Our Lord to create an atmosphere in which the better actions of our nature may be achieved provides the hope needed by our society. Paying attention to children and childhood founds the genesis of this effort. Every adult man and woman once had been a boy and girl. Ironically, the experiences of our youngest years become the oldest experiences of our lives, the most formative experiences of our lives – a fact that makes weightier a little boy's wonderment before lights upon a Christmas tree. Seriously focusing on the command to love as shown in word and deed, men and women can become points of light for an often dark and befuddled world. Children need to know that good can be the norm and, with cautious vigilance, evil can be the aberration.

Certainly, no revolution that has ever taken place in society can be compared to that which has been produced by the words of Jesus Christ.

Mark Hopkins

From those early Halcyon days, I have had to seek the light amid the multitudinous manifestations of darkness in human existence. In that Christmas tree light, there glowed a hope, a peace, and a victory over the darkness of sin and death. No wonder that the brightness of a star led humanity to discover the source of that light and the creator of all light for the world. I pray that the light of Christ shines upon your soul and radiates from there to your world.

From all of us at Clemons Productions, prayers and best wishes for blessed and joyful Christmas.