On Saturday we will celebrate the winter solstice, which is the one day of the year where the night is longest and the daylight shortest. It will be the first day of winter. It is also a day that brings consolation because while the world around us grows colder, the daylight will slowly be increasing, eventually bringing with it the warmth of spring and the heart of summer.
As we continue our preparations for the birth of the Eternal Light into the world in the manger of Bethlehem, perhaps these next two days would be a good time to meditate on the ways by which you and I may have allowed spiritual darkness to grow in our own lives since last Christmas? Are there parts of our lives that remain mired in the darkness of sin and we find ourselves unable to break free? Do we find ourselves more or less convicted of the truth of our Catholic faith than we experienced last Christmas? Over the last year, do we enjoy greater or lesser peace in our hearts, effected by the challenges that we have faced or continue to deal with in our lives?
Every Christian battles against the presence of spiritual darkness in his or her life. It is a consequence of our sinfulness. However, even if such darkness at times grows in our lives, the birth of Christ is our herald of true hope, that such darkness can recede and eventually be defeated by the love and mercy of Our Savior. It is up to us to spend the time to name the various forms of darkness that surround us or battle against us and to bring them to the crib of Christ this Christmas, to allow His light to scatter whatever darkness we face.
While it is the natural cycle of life that darkness grows and recedes in the passage of the seasons, in the spiritual world, the darkness need not grow or remain into our lives. We only need to ask the Christ Child to give us the light of His grace and allow Him to help us to defeat our spiritual darkness wherever we find it.
The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos.