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And now, said God, I’m going to change the LIGHT.
The LIGHT that has been only in my mind.
I’ll speak and spill, creating day and night –
The moon, the sun, and all its starry kind.

The state of the world seems somewhat bleak right now! A friend recently exclaimed, “It seems we are living through a rather dark chapter of humanity!” Darkness feels pervasive for a variety of reasons.

I wonder, however, if God is changing — perhaps brightening — the LIGHT. God does not create darkness. God opens our eyes to see things we have not seen before. The LIGHT is around us everywhere, in every moment and every day, in many ways — but we surely can miss it, especially when we’re wrapped up in our privilege and mistake it for light. I know I do.

And yet, the LIGHT has been, is, and will be — always and in all ways — with us, even in this moment.

And now, said, God, I’m going to change the LIGHT.
To shine in flesh, be born and breathe, to dwell
In One of grace and truth, so in the fight
Of dark and LIGHT, the darkness can’t prevail.

Consider what God is showing us these days. The LIGHT is in our coming together, virtually and in person. In our healing the sick, honoring the dead, and comforting those who mourn. Amidst the struggles and the vast measures of support. The LIGHT shines through parents holding a home together and through teachers creatively seeking to connect. Through our protests and calls for justice. Through our dialogue and truth-seeking. Through our striving to forgive, to start anew.

The LIGHT is magnified in our rebuilding of community, our leaning into and embracing of vulnerability, our commitment to love even in the most difficult moments. In each one’s efforts to bring God’s vision to renew and transform the world.

And in all of this and more, Christ is born. Christ dwells.

And now, said God, I’m going to change the LIGHT.
The LIGHT that Christ has been, you will be too.
On every shadow, every hopeless plight.
Wherever I would be, there I shine you.

There is a South African principle, ubuntu, meaning “humanity”. It can also roughly translate to “I cannot be me without you; our lives, destinies are inextricably bound together.” Perhaps another way of looking at it: “I need you if I am to be fully what God created me to be.”

We need each other. We need to encourage each other to live with concern for the welfare of others. We need community to sustain us in a mission of peace and justice on this earth.

Just maybe, the deepening of this awareness is how the LIGHT is changing us. God never abandons us. God is always in relationship with us. Embracing such kinship — a solidarity born out of God’s intimate and yet profound entrance into our stories and lives — we become open to the radiance of Christ in each other. And we discover new ways of gathering, of connecting, of being LIGHT to each other.

And now, said God, I’m going to change the LIGHT.
(Glenn Schwerdtfeger)

In this LIGHT, we will (re)discover ourselves singing Joy to the World because we know the compassionate and joyful face of God in each other. May we remember together that LIGHT does conquer the darkness. In our pursuit of peace, love and justice, joy comes to us.

With that in mind, we invite you to our virtual Advent Celebration of Hope this Sunday evening (Dec. 13, 2020, at 7 pm EST). Reflecting on God’s active presence in their lives this past year, our lay missioners, the communities they accompany and three guest artists celebrate the hope that still LIGHTS our world.

We look forward to sharing God’s LIGHT together.

Ted Miles Ted Miles
Ted Miles is the executive director of Maryknoll Lay Missioners.