like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunder-peals, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. (Revelation 19:6-8)
Most of you have noticed that the days gradually, subtly grow longer. This is good news for those who struggle with seasonal affective disorder or who, quite simply are very sensitive to light. That Christmas be celebrated as the days grow longer is not a coincidence. The Church makes symbolic use of the cosmos to help us to approach the One Whom we celebrate. As St. Gregory of Nyssa (+394) tells us,
Today the darkness begins to grow shorter and the light to lengthen, as the hours of night become fewer.... Realize that the true light is now here and, through the rays of the gospel, is illumining the whole earth.
The English monk, St. Bede the Venerable (+735) celebrates Christ in saying that
“He is the Morning Star, who, when the night of this world is past, gives to his saints the promise of the light of life, and opens everlasting day.”
We continue the celebration. Indeed, as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (+1997) so lovingly and wisely exhorts us: “It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you.”
Yours in the Word made flesh,