The New Year is upon us. I hope you had a nice Christmas. Also, anyone who can tell
me what Auld Lang Syne means gets a free cookie. (Find me at the Coffeehouse.) Yup, it’s
January, and you know what that means. That’s right, the cold embrace of darkness. (Hat tip to
my sister, Megan, for the topic.)
So riddle me this: We celebrate the birth of Christ in many ways, but one of my favorites is
the commemoration of Jesus as the light of the world: Christmas lights! Big bulbs. Little bulbs.
Incandescent and LED. Rope lights, spotlights, stop lights, whatever. Toss that electric bill in a hot
air balloon, baby, because it’s going up, up, and away! The brighter, the better. Basically, I see
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation as an aspirational goal.
However, here we are in January, and the task becomes finding room for everything in the
attic or basement. Why is that? I suppose that once the Magi found the infant Savior, God turned
off the Bethlehem star, too. (If you think it’s expensive to run some inflatable snowmen…) So the
party is over now, time to turn out the lights. (Although, some countries apparently leave them
on until February 2nd, which is a holiday called Candlemas. I may need to sit down and have a
little think about what I love more—America or Christmas?) Back in the boxes and crates they go,
until our next opportunity to celebrate the light of the world.
But hang on.
Godspell taught me that You are the light of the world. (I think St. Matthew may have
actually had the first draft on that.) It’s always somebody’s birthday. Does that mean year-round
icicles hanging off of my roof? While I’m sure a case could be made that plastic bins are the
modern equivalent of bushel baskets, I don’t think my neighbors would be so quick to embrace my
logic. And, honestly, I don’t think my wife would give them the chance. When the snow is gone,
so are the giant candy canes.
While it is true that Jesus was the light and the way, He didn’t take it with Him. He opted to
make like the Fraggles and “*honk* *honk* pass it on!” His Apostles were, and are His, legacy. As
Catholics, we are the heirs to that mission.
Now it is cold and dark, but it is up to us to go out and shine. We are the beacons of God’s
love. We are His representatives on Earth. The symbolism here just hit me, and it is apt. Jesus is
gone. We cannot simply bask in His light anymore. We must go out and create it ourselves.
Now is the hard part. There’s a commercial playing currently about how the less fortunate
are taken care of during the holidays, but are forgotten afterward. We can’t forget. We can’t
despair. We need to step up, together, and be a force for good. We need to be Catholic.
So no more sitting on your duff, admiring the tree. You are the light of the world. Get out
from under that bushel and let your light shine before all. And if you want to keep out a wreath or
a reindeer, who am I to judge? Go ahead, you’ve earned it. I’ll talk to you next month.