A Homily for Christmas Morning, 2010
Saturday, December 25th, 2010
Trinity Anglican Church, Bradford, On
The Rev. Daniel F. Graves
Text: John 1:1-14
“The Word became flesh.”
When the sky clouds over, and the snow falls, and darkness reigns for days, oh, how we long for the light! When the days shorten and darkness falls earlier and earlier and the rising of the sun seems so distant and so faint, oh, how we long to feel the rays of warmth on our faces! When night falls and sleep refuses to come and the hours of darkness seem interminable, oh, how we long for the morn to break forth.
In a world of dark thoughts and bleak futures, where is the light? In a world where the weak are forgotten and our human worth is counted by the dark measure of our spending habits, where is the light? In a world where aged mothers and fathers sit forgotten in the darkness of loneliness, and little children cower in the darkness of domestic violence, where is the light?
As soldiers take up arms and march into the darkness of war; as the rulers of this age measure out lives in dark, sterile terms like “collateral damage,” where is the light?
There was a man from God named John. He was not the light, but rather, a witness to the light. He came to testify to the light, to a people who walked in deep darkness, and longed, oh how they longed, to see the light. To them it was but a dream, a hope, a prayer. The light that burned within them seemed so dim, nearly extinguished – it was there, but oh how it needed fanning by the breath of love. Could the light be kindled again? Could the flame be fanned? They hoped and dared dream. The true light which enlightens everyone was coming into the world. For them it was a hope and a dream. For us it is a reality.
The Word became flesh and although darkness threatens, but cannot envelop us. Though darkness falls, it shall not smother us. Though the night comes, the lamp burns and shall not be extinguished, for the darker it gets, the brighter the light of the Word of God burns. And where is the light? Shall we seek it on a distant shore? Is it burning in some distant heaven? No. It is here, in this world, shining its rays into the darkest corners, into the gloomiest places, into the saddest hearts. It is here – the true light that enlightens everyone has come into the world. The Word became flesh, and in his life, we find our life.
Where the light shines, Life is found in abundance; where the flame of love burns, there can be no darkness; where the Spirit of God blows, the winds of night will never extinguish the light: there is and ever will be Life, for that Life is the light of all people.
Into a world of death, Life is born; not fleeting life, but eternal and abundant Life. Into a world of death, Life is born and death will not defeat it or destroy it. Though darkness will fall and cover the earth at midday and many will believe that hope is lost, hope shall not be destroyed for Life cannot be destroyed by death, nor will Love be overwhelmed the darkness of anger, hate, or fear.
Into a world of brokenness, Love is born. To hearts that weep with sadness, Love sows compassion. To lives filled with loneliness, Love becomes a companion. Into lives written off in sin and the darkness of mistaken purpose, Love brings healing and redemption.
Light became flesh. Eternal life became flesh. Love became flesh. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. Before us his glory illuminates the world casts away the darkness, for the darkness can neither understand it nor withstand it. Upon us he bestows his light, his life, and his love. Within us his glory shines and unveils our deepest darkest places. Around us his light lifts the darkness of the world and restores relationships and opens the way of peace.
Like John the Baptist of old, we are a people sent from God to testify to the light. We are not the light, and yet we are enlightened by the light. We witness to the light; the true light of love that has that has come into the world. As we adore Christ our God this morn, may our adoration be a witness to the light, and may this world know the radiance of the Word made flesh.
c. 2010, the Rev. Daniel F. Graves