One month ago today my priest gave a sermon that I have been thinking on over the last month. He talked a great deal about the darkness of this world and how through the season we were approaching, Nativity, Theophany and even all the way to February 2nd, the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple, Light has come into the world. We were, at that time, preparing to welcome the Christ child into the world, He would fill this world with light. “We are called out of that darkness so that we might commune with the light. Jesus Christ is the light of the world!”
During Christmas and Theophany seasons “we are celebrating the appearing of the light of the world!”
My favorite part of his sermon was when he said, with great passion, “Light! It’s what we live for, it’s what defines us as Christians. We live for that light; we flee that darkness. It is all about that!”
Light! His Light is what we live for! This fills me with such joy, with so much hope and inspiration. I NEED that light to lift away the darkness and the difficult. The dark, difficult days that cloud up and seem to feel so heavy. Christ came into the world to fill those days with light! His light!
Father mentioned that all the hymns of Nativity and Theophany were about Light. So when the time came, I paid attention.
During the Nativity services and again yesterday, as we sang Vesperal Divine Liturgy and Festal Vigil, I kept hearing that theme of light in the hymnography.
Here is one of the first Hymns we sung on Christmas Eve…
(in all hymns I quote, emphasis are mine)
When the Lord Jesus was born of the Holy Virgin, the whole universe was filled with light. The shepherds watched in the fields.
The Wise Men worshipped, and the Angels sang.
But Herod was troubled, for God had appeared in the flesh.
He is the Savior of our souls.
The very next hymn…
Thy Kingdom endures forever, O Christ our God.
Thy rule is from age to age.
Made flesh by the Holy Spirit,
made man of the ever-virgin Mary,
Thou hast filled all creation with joy.
The light of Thy coming has shone on us;
every living creature praises Thee,
the Image of the Father’s glory.
Light of Light, the radiance of the Father,
the same yesterday, today, and forever,
Thou hast shone forth from the Virgin.
O God, have mercy on us!
Later on in the evening of Christmas Eve we hear one certain line, or variation thereof, many, many times throughout the hymns.
God is born from a woman and appears in the flesh to those who sit in darkness and shadow.
Light has shone on those in darkness.
To those in darkness, a star reveals Christ, the Sun.
Remember what Father said in his sermon?
“We are called out of that darkness so that we might commune with the light.”
I discovered the hymns of Theophany were no different, as we sung them yesterday.
Our Light that enlightens all comes to be baptized.
The Forerunner sees Him and rejoices in His soul.
His hand trembles as he shows Him to the people:
“Behold, the Redeemer of Israel, the One Who frees us from corruption.”
O sinless One, Christ our God, glory to Thee!
And one of my favorite hymns…
Thou, the Creator of the world,
hast shone forth in the world,
to give light to those who sit in darkness.
O God Who lovest man, glory to Thee!
And yet another…
Thou hast shone forth to tax collectors and sinners
because of Thine abundant mercies.
Where should Thy light shine but on those who sit in darkness?
O our Savior, glory to Thee!
The Light shines on us, who sit in darkness!
Glory to God!
Father, also mentioned on that day, one month ago, that “Resurrectional Vigil is inspired by what takes place at the Holy Sepulcher. That is what we do every Saturday, it’s like a little Holy Saturday. It is so beautiful. It’s what we live for!”
I completely agree and it really inspired me to get my focus back to where I truly felt led when I created Kindler of Joy…the joy (and the light) of the Resurrection, which is ours for the taking each and every day of the year!
I need to, daily, bring my mind back to this beautiful fact. This joy and this light can make this trial filled life worth living.
I can’t wait to get back into sharing this joy with you more regularly, and in turn you sharing it with those you love!
Blessed Feast, my friends!
May the Light of the world, shine on you today! May all the shadows be brightened.