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Reflections from Fr Jennings: Our Sacred Stories – Witness to Light and Hope in the Midst of Darkness

by | Dec 12, 2020

Our Sacred Stories
Witness to Light and Hope in the Midst of Darkness

December,… heading into winter. In a few days we will experience the shortest, darkest day of our year. It comes as we find ourselves still facing a Covid-19 pandemic. Darkness and cold, isolation and restrictions, it is a harsh reality.

In the midst of the darkness there is light, there is hope. From our darkest day, our days will slowly begin to lengthen, light will triumph over darkness. News of vaccines has brought light and hope that there is an end to the pandemic. Slowly the darkness will end.

The 3rd Sunday of Advent has traditionally been referred to as “Gaudete Sunday” it issues a call to rejoice, for light and life will prevail. Advent leads to Christmas and the promise of God’s deep love and willingness to stand among us always, in the person of Jesus, the Christ. There is a wonderful English Christmas carol that captures this advent of light in the darkness and hope over despair:

In the bleak mid-winter, Frosty wind made moan;
Earth stood hard as iron, Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow;
In the bleak mid-winter, long ago.
Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain,…
In the bleak mid-winter, a stable-place sufficed,
The Lord God Almighty – Jesus Christ.
(Words by Christina Rossetti; Music by Gustav Holst)

John`s Gospel (John 1:6-8, 19-28) tells us of John the Baptist and we are told: He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. John the Baptist is our model. We are witnesses for others, called to nurture the faith and hope of our generation and of the next. In the “bleak mid-winter”, ours it is to bring light and hope, support and love to one another and our world.

In the midst of the darkness that sometimes envelops our lives and the challenges we and our world face, there is a fundamental truth of our faith. God recognizes the goodness of every human being and gifts us with a love that can never be lost. So it is, that like the Old Testament prophet we are given the Spirit of our God for a purpose. Isaiah expresses it this way:

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,
to bind-up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to the prisoners;…. (Is.61:1)

May we be light in the darkness, hope in discouragement and loving compassion for all.

John Jennings
3rd Sunday of Advent