Into the darkness of midwinter, into the time of fearsome shadow, empty trees, and icy pathways, comes light â€“ a splendor of light, a humbleness of light.
It sounds too simple; this is Planet Earth, you know. Humans â€śmix it up.â€ť We tack the eternal verities on gaudy bulletin boards with crimped paper borders.
We donâ€™t agree on what the light is, even with its surrounding sounds.
Fire light warming bodies and souls? Edisonâ€™s miracle twinkling on Christmas trees? Candle light illuminating carol singers? Neon lights vamping in Vegas? Strip mall signs arguing for sight line? Police flashlights flickering over shivering, dying shapes under a bridge? Ambulance floodlights enabling a crewâ€™s work through sobs and screams?
Or, the Lord of all heavens descending midst angelic voices and human noise, coming to love us?
Among these waves of glory and uproar some believers offer words, words called The Nicene Creed, â€śâ€¦We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,Â the only Son of God,Â eternally begotten of the Father,Â God from God, Light from Light,Â true God from true God,Â begotten, not made,Â of one Being with the Father.Â Through him all things were made.Â For us and for our salvationÂ he came down from heaven:Â by the power of the Holy SpiritÂ he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,Â and was made man.â€ť
The Nicene Creed (creed from the Latin credo â€“ I believe) is the revised version (revised in the year 389) of an earlier statement agreed upon by the Council of Nicaea in 325 when charged by the Emperor Constantine to create a unifying statement of belief, much needed in a church plagued by hotly defended polarities of belief. The city of Nicaeaâ€™s remains lie in modern Turkey. Disunity remains among the followers of Jesus of Nazareth, the Light of the world.Â Â John 8: 12: Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.â€ť
We choose the meanings we assign to what we see and hear, what we know â€“ or someone chooses them for us, which soon scrambles into the same thing.
The light of this cold winter 2013 doesnâ€™t fail to come, but you can fail to keep it in your heart. You can fail to keep Christmas, preferring the cold and dark, even as you sit comfortably by a fireplacesâ€™s beautiful brick, beautiful brass, even as you watch the Grinch steal Christmas again this year.
You can ruminate over the happiness of others, holding fast to your bleakness, your darkness.
Or, you can embrace light, defining it as knowledge enlightens you.
Another year draws to a close, so important to us and hardly noticeable in the galaxy or in the rabbit hole. The year flickers, perhaps stumbles away, and it leaves debris of sadness, of happiness â€“ debris that sticks like gum to a shoe sole.
Look safely and boldly into the future â€“ directly into the light.
Merry Christmas to all, those with sorrow, illness, joy, and health; family, friends, or none; the worldâ€™s wealth or its poverty â€“ Merry Christmas, hope has arrived yet again. I think it never leaves.