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Let There Be Light

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By GEORGE A. KENDALL

In the Book of Genesis, God begins the work of creation by saying, “Let there be light.” And light is indeed the central theme of the creation, whether that be the old creation or the new creation in Christ. The parallel creation story which we find in the Prologue to the Gospel of John starts out with:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” and goes on to say that “all things were made through him, and without him was made nothing that has been made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men, and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
But we know that darkness — i.e., the Kingdom of Satan — reigned over the world from the Fall of Adam and Eve until the coming of Christ, not because God willed it so or was powerless to prevent it, but because He chose to permit it so that we might experience to the full the horror of enslavement to sin and death.
So darkness still reigned on Earth when Christ came to expel it. And that is why we celebrate Christmas at the time of the winter solstice when natural darkness is at its deepest and it is time for the light to grow and increase over the natural darkness which, while not evil in itself, is such an apt symbol of Satan’s reign of sin and death.
And then we have Luke’s account of the announcement of the coming of the Savior to the Shepherds: “And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them.” Once again, light is at the center of the events that herald the coming of Christ. And finally there is the star of Bethlehem, whose light the Magi followed in their journey to find the Messiah.
And what is light? Natural light is energy. Light travels by wave motion — high-frequency waves carry high energy, low-frequency ones carry low energy. This energy makes life possible, first in being absorbed by plants, which convert it to chemical energy by a process known as photosynthesis. Animals, including us humans, eat those plants, as well as eating other animals who eat those animals, and thus absorb the energy they need to live. The Earth’s atmosphere also absorbs light in the form of heat, keeping the planet warm enough so living things can exist and thrive.
Now, in the supernatural realm, the closest thing I can think of to energy is grace, the power given us by the Holy Spirit that enables us to live the life of the spirit to the full. Without it, we are spiritually dead. This shows us the events surrounding Christmas in a new light. When the Holy Spirit came upon Mary, she received the power to see what the Archangel was telling her, not as the wild story it might have seemed to be, but as the truth. It also enabled her to give her consent to become the Mother of Jesus — the most pivotal event in the history of the world.
The Holy Spirit thus gave Joseph the power to believe Mary’s account of how she came to be with child, something the average worldly wise male would be expected to dismiss as another wild story, this one invented to get a woman out of a socially awkward situation. Joseph was also instructed by the Holy Spirit to get his family away from Egypt, thus protecting Jesus from Herod’s scheme to kill him. And the Spirit guided the Magi to Jesus, then warned them not to report back to Herod.
And so, we see the light of Christ coming into the world on Christmas Day, empowering those of us who accept Him to live in the truth of Christ. And the coming of Christ is the beginning of the end of Satan’s kingdom.
So the good news is that the light of Christ, the grace and truth that the darkness cannot overcome, has come into the world and will conquer evil. The bad news is that Satan does not give up because he knows he cannot win, but continues his attack on the light.
For the past three centuries or so, this attack has taken the form, ironically enough, of a movement known as the Enlightenment, which has made much progress in turning the world into a huge insane asylum — getting people to believe such things as that killing babies by the tens of millions, killing the old and the dying, having as few children as possible, in short, rejecting life, will set them free rather than enslaving them. “Enlightenment” ideologues talk a lot about love, but their agenda is to turn the world into a cold, dark, loveless place.
So where does that leave us at Christmastime? First, we should celebrate Christmas with great joy, because we know that the war has been won. But we also know that there are still battles to fight, because the enemy refuses to surrender. For that reason, we need to look for the triumph of Mary’s Immaculate Heart, which began when she consented to be the Mother of the Incarnate God, but is not yet complete. We can be joyful warriors while readying ourselves for battle. And in that spirit, a Merry Christmas to all!
(© 2021 George A. Kendall)

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