“Arise, shine out, Jerusalem, for your light has come, the glory of the Lord is rising on you though night still covers the earth and darkness the peoples.”
– Isaiah 60:1-2
As we come into a new year into a cold and dark January, and yet another lockdown, it is understandable to feel despondent. In this time of restrictions, all may seem gloomy. However, as Christians, we can choose to observe the extended celebrations of the Lord’s nativity and adopt a different attitude to the rest of the world when it comes to dealing with what the world currently faces.
In the Feast days and weeks after the Epiphany, the church’s liturgy sees one manifestation of God’s glory after another. Between now and the beginning of Lent, we will hear at Mass the Gospel accounts of the first sound of the Father’s voice at the baptism of Our Lord in the Jordan; the first words of Our Lord’s public ministry; the first miracle at Cana in Galilee; the first act of forgiveness by Our Lord; the first healing miracle. Again and again the light of God’s glory has shone into the lives of those who encountered Christ first-hand, culminating liturgically in the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (otherwise known as Candlemas) on 2nd February. It is a Feast which marks the end of the Christmas season proper. In many churches and homes, the crib is left up until Candlemas and in some places, it is even marked with a sort of second Christmas, with turkey and pudding and crackers all over again! A Christmas meal on the first day of Christmas and another to mark the end of the forty-day long season. Why not try this at home to cheer yourselves up in the midst of the lockdown?
“A people who walked in darkness has seen a great light; for those dwelling in a land of deep gloom, a light has shone.”
– Isaiah 9:1
As the world focuses on its new year resolutions and weight loss programmes, lockdown or not, we Catholics are still full of celebration right until Candlemas, rejoicing at the coming into the world of the Word who became flesh for the sake of our salvation. This is no time for doom and gloom, for dieting and nut cutlets. We still have our feasting to do!
I wish you all the blessings of this glorious extended season of Christmas, that you may continue to rejoice in the One who comes to dwell amongst us.