December 24, 2009

Advent in Song: Silent Night

I hope for everyone this is a Holy night (if not a Silent Night!). We celebrate the night of Christ's birth, the dawn of the light of the world. Most of us, I'd guess, know the first verse of Silent Night very well. Many of us know the second (the shepherds quaking). Let's look, then, at the imagery of the third:

Silent night, Holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy Holy Face
With the dawn of redeeming grace.
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth.
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth.

Christ is God's living Word, the divine intellect that illumines us. Jesus is the light of the world. (John 9:5) Compare this image with the Holy Spirit that comes as fire and burns in our hearts. (Acts 2:3)

Light and heat. Those are perfect analogies. We see the light of a fire before we feel its warmth, and to receive the fulness of grace from the Holy Spirit of God we must first see by His Light. We must see by the Light of Truth, God's incarnate Word, and follow Him.

The shepherds trembled and rightly so. This is a staggering idea. What an unfathomable gift! What a terrifying reality, that God would come walk among us.

What part of His Truth has given you difficulty? Is there a part of your life where the Light of the World isn't shining? Perhaps you have a question about the Eucharist, or marriage and divorce, or contraception, or abortion. Perhaps you don't understand one of the Sacraments or an aspect of Mass as well as you could. Respond to the coming of the Light of the World by getting those questions answered. Talk to your local priest. Read up on your topic using a faithful source like the faith tracts at Catholic Answers or the booklets at the Bible Christian Society.

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