A light in the window at Christmas is said to be an Irish custom. The candle, placed in the front window of a home, becomes an invitation to the Holy Family passing by seeking a place to stay that this home would welcome them. The candle is a welcome to the Christ who is coming into the world, but it is also a reminder that he who is being welcomed is himself the light of the world. The candle welcomes all, family, friends, and strangers. Christ, the Light, comes for all.

This year, there are more lights in our windows and homes. Unable to gather together with families and friends in this time of pandemic, we still want to brighten the lives of those around us. The light disperses the darkness of winter and the burden that the coronavirus has placed on us. The lights of Christmas bring hope as they raise spirits and smiles in a difficult time in modern history.

The light raises spirits because it is the light of Christ. At Christmas, we celebrate his coming into the world. For some two thousand years, the lights have been lit, in times both difficult and joyful, to assure all that God is with us. Emmanuel, God-with-us, is the name of Jesus. This year, we find ourselves in a challenging time. Let the lights of Christmas around us remind us that the Light of the world is with us. Yes, at Christmas, we remember that Christ’s light rests in our hearts as comfort and in our hands as mission. Live in the hope the light gives us and carry the light to others.

We are called to be bearers of the light. The message of Jesus is one of hope and love. Live, then, in that light for it dispels the darkness of our world. Christmas reminds us of God’s abundant love for us in Jesus. May we also remember to offer help to those in need in our community. That is, after all, the true meaning of Christmas: carrying His light into the world through our care for one another.

It is Christmas, a time of joy and celebration at the coming of Christ. Jesus is truly with us, a pure gift, filling our lives with hope and peace, in good times and in bad. May we welcome Christ with lighted candles, with hearts full of joy and generosity. May you and your loved ones have a blessed and bright Christmas.

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