Why is it that the greatest outpouring of visual art and music the Church and the world have seen is centered on the three greatest events in the life of Christ? Because all of human history was changed when the Word was made flesh, when that flesh died, and when that flesh rose. How was human history changed? Proof was given that God’s promise was true, that He would not destroy His creation, but would redeem it.
Christmas is one of the holidays that elicits a lot of emotion. Bing Crosby croons about the white Christmases he used to know. Elvis sings about his “blue Christmas without you.” A little closer to home, Brian d’Arcy James sings his desire for a “Michigan Christmas, with Michigan snow on the Saginaw trees.” And we’re bombarded with images of the perfect Christmas, a picture print by Currier and Ives of a family filling a church pew, kids rushing down the stairs to see what presents await them, the happy family sitting around the table with the soft glow of candlelight. But then there’s reality. We only had a 50/50 shot of getting a white Christmas this year, and it didn’t come true. Many of us are celebrating blue Christmases without loved ones by our side because of death or any number of family changes. And while all of us here are getting the “Michigan Christmas,” not all of us want to be in Michigan. Some of you have family miles and time zones away other states, maybe even deployed by the military, and everyone will home for Christmas, but only in their dreams. Light and darkness. Good and bad. Happiness and sadness. As St. John begins to explain the mystery of Christmas he uses that theme. Christ, the Light of the World comes to scatter the darkness. What does that mean for you and me, people who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death?