“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.” (Isaiah 9:2)
Dear friends in Christ, we gather this great night to keep vigil like the shepherds who kept watch over their flock by night. Nighttime is symbolic of darkness, absence of light, absence of joy, love and peace. The people to whom Isaiah prophesied in our first reading were a people in darkness. Unfortunately, many are still in darkness today.
Isaiah speaks of a time that Christ, the light of the world would dwell in our midst and wipe out the darkness. This is the good news the Angels announced to the shepherds: “For to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.” With this announcement came the singing of the first Christmas Carol: _ Glory to God in the Highest and On Earth Peace to People of Goodwill._
However, as this great news was being announced, Mary and Joseph were in an obscure manger amid animals. The fact that Jesus was born in a manger not only reflects the thick darkness that had enveloped mankind, but it also says something about the darkness that fills our world today; the darkness of stinginess, irreligion and worldliness. Mary is heavily pregnant, many saw her condition but could not make some sacrifice to accommodate her because she was just an unknown stranger.
What about you? Are you also going to kick Mary out? Remember that this Jesus for whom we gather this night is still out there hungry, sick, homeless, poor and in need of a little cup of water. Remember, whatsoever you do to the least of my brethren, that you do unto me. Spread the light by showing love. Be kind to strangers.
Secondly, it will be a great contradiction that we plunge ourselves into the works of darkness while celebrating Jesus, the light of the world. As St. Paul admonishes in today’s second reading: “Live sober, upright and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, Jesus Christ who gave his life to redeem us from all iniquity and make for himself a people who are zealous for good deeds.”
The best birthday gift we can give to the baby Jesus is our repentance from sin, our decision to spread the light. Let your life become a light. Let us pray: Lord Jesus, we are in darkness, come and save us. Amen.
Bible Study: Isaiah 9:2-7, Psalm 96:1-13, Titus 2:11-14 and Luke 2:1-14).