Tuesday, Second Week of Advent
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
– John 1:9
There’s something about the holidays that makes everyone think of light. Christmas movies always show a house in the night still glowing warmly. The Menorah warmly burns brighter and brighter every day of the Hanukah season. Lights on strings seem to be everywhere—on trees, on lamp posts, on bridges, on front porches and stoops—to bring festive holiday cheer to those who walk by. On top of the Christmas tree, a star or angel shines brightly, giving glimmering beauty to the ornaments below. As a child, nothing would brighten my day as much as the tree in our living room I would see as I’d come down the stairs. But because I’m a college student, and have a nasty habit of thinking too much, I can’t help but wonder why light is so important to the holidays.
When the Magi first found Christ, they were guided by light: the star shining over Bethlehem. After the Maccabees liberated themselves from Antiochus’ tyranny, the Menorah was lit for eight days in spite of only having oil for one day. Why does light play such an important role at this time of year, both in our holiday traditions and legends? I believe it’s because at this time of year, we recognize the liberation of the Jews, the birth of Christ, and the renewal of our faith in God. God is a source of warmth when we feel cold, a glow in the darkness that makes us smile, a beacon of hope at a time when many of us feel most lost. (Don’t worry, guys, finals will be over soon.) When I see the lights on trees or lamps or railings, candles lit in an Advent vigil, small fires in a row on a Menorah, or a star on top of a Christmas tree, how can I keep from smiling? I know then that God is with me, and that He is with us all. And I never turn down His offer to let some light into my heart.
--Dom Veconi ‘15