Flickers of Light and Dark

First Reading: 1 John 2:18-21

Children, it is the last hour;
and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming,
so now many antichrists have appeared.
Thus we know this is the last hour.
They went out from us, but they were not really of our number;
if they had been, they would have remained with us.
Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number.
But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One,
and you all have knowledge.
I write to you not because you do not know the truth
but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 96:1-2, 11-12, 13

R. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all you lands.
Sing to the LORD; bless his name;
announce his salvation, day after day.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult before the LORD.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
The LORD comes,
he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Gospel: John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.

And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son,
full of grace and truth.

John testified to him and cried out, saying,
“This was he of whom I said,
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.



Hot tears stream down my face. A handful of scratchy, thin hospital tissues will not begin to dry up the soaking sorrow of this moment. My vision blurs, my breath catches. The pain in my heart for my sister-in-law and brother-in-law is all too familiar after my husband and I miscarried our first child. They have lost one of their beloved twin girls at thirty weeks gestation. Despite the harsh fluorescent lighting in the room, there is a deep darkness among us.

Just days later, my long green dress blows gently in the warm June breeze. The warmth in the air is nothing in comparison to that which I feel deep in my heart this day. My beautiful younger sister in her ivory bridal gown is, quite simply, radiant. As she gazes into the eyes of her new husband, I see the joy of the Lord as clear as day. This is light.

The emotional juxtaposition of brightest light and blackest darkness was a lot for my tender heart to bear in such a short span of days. Jesus was the only way I made it. Praise God for His grace. The great hope I clung to and celebrated was this blessed truth from Saint John’s Gospel: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Light and darkness, darkness and light. This is what 2016 was made of, and what 2017 will surely be made of, too. Perhaps your year had more darkness than light, or perhaps it was bright, with only moments spent in the dark. However you feel in this moment at the end of the year, I pray you find hope and peace in today’s Gospel. I pray you would always be able to see the flickers of Light amidst any darkness you face.

On this seventh day of Christmas, we continue to celebrate the fulfillment of what Saint John foretold: “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.” It is the newborn King Jesus, true Light, who is with us. Not even the deepest darkness could overtake His brilliance.

May the Light of the Lord shine brightly in your hearts as we enter into a new year, and may it illuminate within you Christ’s deepest peace.

[Tweet “It is Jesus, true Light, who is with us. Nothing could overtake His brilliance.”]

Take a moment to reflect on the light and darkness you experienced in 2016. Where has the Lord been Light for you? How will your life be a light for Christ in the new year?

photo credit

Elise Howe is a devoted wife, momma, and musician currently living in NYC, though she will always be a midwestern gal at heart. You can find out more about her here.

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