Fr Roland - December 2012

posted 6 Jan 2013, 08:42 by Richard Jones   [ updated 6 Jan 2013, 08:42 ]

Dear Friends,

Christ the Light of the World 

Many of you know by now how I hate to see Christmas celebrated too early BUT I do understand the reasons like for example in schools, but as Christians we must not forget the importance of the four weeks of ADVENT preparing us for the great festival of the Incarnation. I also realise the need for a Christmas message in this month’s magazine. 

It may come as a surprise to some to learn that the actual date of Christ`s birth is unknown. December 25th was chosen by Rome around the year 300AD. Why this particular date ? 

Going back a long time, before artificial light was invented, the season of winter was long, and dark, and dreary. And all of this was due to the fact that the sun had gone away. However, the people knew that at a certain point the sun began to come back, and things changed for the better. So they had a feast to celebrate this fact. It was known as the feast of the Unconquerable Sun (Sol invictus).

 To counter this pagan feast the Church chose December 25th, which is close to the winter solstice, to celebrate the birth of Christ. Instead of worshipping the Sun-God, people were encouraged to worship Christ, the Son of God. The Church saw the coming of Jesus a fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah: `The people that lived in darkness have seen a great light;` Jesus described his mission in similar terms when he said: `I am the light of the World.` 

December is the darkest month of the year (in the northern hemisphere). It is a time when we appreciate the value of light. Christmas means the coming of God`s light into the darkness of our world. Someone described Christmas as a pool of light in the inky darkness of winter. 

How dark the world would be if the Light of Christ had never shone. The Russian writer, Dostoevsky, put it like this: `While we are on earth, we grope in the dark, and, but for the precious image of Christ before us, we would lose our way completely and perish.` 

The teaching of Christ was truly a source of light to all who accepted him. But it was above all through his deeds and encounters with people that his luminous goodness manifested itself. Countless people came to him in darkness and went away bathed in light. 

Christ`s light was not lit in Bethlehem once and then extinguished. Unlike the sun, Christ`s light knows no setting. It continues to shine for all who believe in him and follow him. The Light of Christ is a persistent light, and has the power to draw people to its shining. It is not an illusory comfort, or a false reassurance that all is well when this is clearly not the case. It shines in the midst of devastation, disaster and upheaval. The Gospel is a persistent and defiant light, which no darkness can overpower. 

Christ`s light comes as a friend. It brings healing not hurt, freedom not oppression, life not death. Those who follow him will always have the light of life. He teaches us who we are and what our destiny is. We are children of God, destines for eternal life. May the Lord in his goodness give us a taste of that joy which the shepherds experienced when the light of God`s glory shone around them on that first Christmas night. 

May I take this opportunity to wish all of you a very Happy, Blessed and Peaceful Christmas. 

Fr Roland.