One of the most enduring images of the Scriptures is light. Divinity, understanding, love, grace, goodness, divine presence are all symbolized by light. The Radiant Dawn offers light to those who have lost their way, has offered us the a way to follow that leads to peace with God and thus eternal joy. To be in the darkness is the opposite to human completion; to be in the dark and not know it is totally destructive. Enlightenment by the Spirit gives us the knowledge we crave so that we can be our perfect selves, children of our Father. Today we celebrate in particular the light which slowly but surely eliminates the darkness of evil. We meditate on that beginning of light; we realize that this child in the crib is the Light. For he has said, I am the light of the world. We look to him to come more thoroughly into our personal darknesses, to bring us the light we associate with glory, with happiness.
Our Gospel is so famous: the description of God's entry into human affairs to the extent that He becomes human. This, with the later gift of the Spirit, is the best expression of His overwhelming love for us. To give this child the name Jesus assures us of salvation. To hear that he is to rule forever on the throne of Jacob assures us that the one responsible for a happiness we cannot achieve on our own - well, this is the One who will give us the great benefits of God. That he will be called Son of God can only make absolutely sure that God loves us so much that He will come himself, not send another human being. He will be our sacrifice; He will be our teacher; He will share his innermost self, the Spirit, with us. We wait for no other. The story of revelation does not end with the announcements of Gabriel. For some inexplicable reason, God waits for Mary to say she will cooperate with Him. Thankfully she does. And Luke intends her to be the model for all those committed to Jesus, devoted without ever understanding fully in her life on earth the fullness of the divine will to save us.
John Kilgallen, SJ