If you want to see a description of the Christmas story, read the Gospel of Luke or watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas. However, if you want to see the affect of Christmas, today’s gospel is the reading to investigate. Notice it is not the story that is there, in fact, this was written almost 100 years after the events Luke describes, but what is here is the excitement of what Christmas is all about. It is a telling of the story from that perspective of “Let me tell you how my life was changed.”
Let us ask ourselves what this story means for us:
Let me first look at it in light of our times. Many people describe our times as the Post-Christian era and they are describing this in terms of what I call unenlightened human reason. Where does this come from? It actually comes from the teachings of a man named Fuerbach, the Father of Modern Atheism. Fuerbach had a famous student you may have heard of, Karl Marx. Prior to Fuerbach, Atheism was defined not in terms of not believing in God, but not believing in our gods. It was Fuerbach who taught there is no God. Later Neitzche changed it into “God is dead!” Which implies that we are now gods.
What is the fruit of this? It is a form of darkness that is unenlightened human reason which defines for the world what is true and what is not. The problem with this concept is that it assumes that like most gods, that we as humans are omniscient, we know everything and when we listen to this definition of truth rooted in darkness we blindly enter deeper darkness.
Jesus, when he comes in all the excitement we see in gospel reading, teaches us something powerful. He begins with showing us that we don’t know everything, there is plenty we don’t know and plenty more that we have yet to conceive. Then he reveals to us some of what we don’t know—that which we can comprehend despite our biological limitations—and He calls us to act upon it.
When we do that, we start to understand our world as it is seen in Christmas Carols: Our King has come. The one who teaches us shows us truth and leads us out of darkness and into a wonderful light of divine wisdom. The one who brings light to a world in the darkness of sin and lack of understanding and once that light of wisdom shines in darkness we begin to see what no one could imagine. He is our King. He is the one who through His love teaches us whom we are.
Once we do this, we learn a great truth. Yet, there is a problem: We are in the light and growing closer to the light which is the truth and wisdom of God. They are in the darkness. They are living with a false sense of self that teaches a false sense of truth. There is little we can do except try to get them to see the light: that enlightened wisdom that is beyond us that teaches us things we cannot imagine. It is that same wisdom that enlightens us. This is the reason that we have to remember that Catholicism is not about blindly following rules. It is about acting on the divinely inspired wisdom bestowed on the Christian Community throughout history that brings forth an understanding for us of whom we are and on how to live and how not to live.
This means that you and I are part of the Kingdom of light, which has defeated all of darkness. However, darkness is vanishing, it has not yet vanished, and so we see clashes at times between light and darkness, the likes of which we are seeing in this world in painful ways today.
We celebrate our King in this world, coming to bring us His truth, His joy because unlike us He is God and unlike us, He knows all including that which is beyond our current ability to know.
When we humble ourselves before our King and do his will. We come to a light that not only shines in darkness; it shines upon those things that were hitherto unseen to us before we entered the light.
Let us grow in our call to be people of light, that those in darkness may discover their surroundings and also seek the Light in Christ that we have been blessed to know.
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