The week began with the longest night of the year, and the promise of a little more light each day hereafter. The celebration of Christmas was the highlight this week – the true Light breaking into the world. The Gospel of John read for Christmas day proclaims, “What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (1:1 – 18).
Have you ever just stood in awe of the fact and mystery that God, creator of all, became a vulnerable, helpless baby, born in poverty? This is the Light? Yet what better way for us to draw close to God – God who drew close to us in our vulnerability and need!
The Sisters of the Holy Redeemer reflect on the Light of God’s presence this week:
On the Fourth Sunday of Advent the Sisters gathered for their final Sunday Evening Advent Prayer Service in the Chapel. This was a time of prayer for peace within ourselves, our community and peace within the world. We prayed for nations throughout the world as we offered intentions for how we hope to be peace within the world – one action at a time.
On Monday the Sisters celebrated all the people who work at the Provincialate with a holiday meal, singing, light-hearted activities and even a visit from St. Nick! We are grateful for all the people who reveal the presence of Christ in the world today.
On Tuesday the Chapel was decorated for the Christmas Season; transformed from the simplicity of Advent to the light and rejoicing of Christmas – reminding us of the light of Christ breaking through the darkness. That evening the Sisters gathered for a little pre-Christmas celebration including evening prayer, exchange of Christmas cards with our “Advent Angel” and delicious refreshments. This certainly brightened up the night.
On Wednesday – the Chapel was filled with guests and choir members as we celebrated the Christmas Eve Vigil Mass. It truly was a time of joy as we were reminded to look for the light that breaks through the darkness – we can choose to do this everyday, not just this one day!
On Thursday, Christmas day, the Sisters gathered for Christmas day Mass followed by a celebratory meal. Here we rejoiced together as community for the gift of Our Redeemer who has brought to light our vocation.
On Friday, the Feast of St. Stephen, we recalled the joy of following Jesus, who strengthens us for the difficulties and challenges of life. We will not be left in darkness.
On Friday evening the Sisters gathered in the Chapel lit only by candlelight to listen to one of the Sisters play the piano. The “concert” included classical pieces as well as Christmas Carols. What a gift to be in this sacred space surrounded by light and music!
As the week came to a close, Saturday offered a day of rest after the festivities. It was a beautiful warm sunny day to enjoy the light and the Light of the world.
The Christmas Season has only just begun. As you continue into the octave of Christmas may you choose each day to notice the Light that is with us.