A few years ago, a young father grieving over the tragic death of his eight-year-old son said to me, “We won’t let our tears extinguish the candles that light the way to heaven.”
Christmas can be described as a time of tears and candles. We celebrate the birth of Jesus who lights the way to heaven because of his death and resurrection. The tears caused by sin can one day be dried for good because his resurrection destroyed the power of sin and physical death. Death is defeated. Life wins! We make our way through the tears caused by life’s painful events by relying on the light of Jesus’ presence which is always with us.
What are the tears and candles we bring to Christmas this year? We bring the tears of shock, anger, confusion and grief in the aftermath of the shootings in Las Vegas and other acts of terror throughout the world. We shed the tears of helplessness and sorrow over the human suffering caused by recent hurricanes, fires and earthquakes. There are tears for those who live in poverty, who are without food or who have no homes. Our personal lives contain tears of grief for loved ones who have died or relationships that are no more. We cry as we face serious illness, a family crisis or destructive actions that have caused harm.
There are candles, too. The candles of our faith in Jesus which lights our way through each day. The candles of the people who love us and have given of themselves for us. The candles of brave first responders and countless anonymous rescuers who risk their own lives to save people unknown to them. The candles of our own courageous and generous actions. The candles of our resolve and promise to continue finding ways to be candles of hope in the world.
I carry within me the profound words of that grieving father. I invite you, the wonderful people of Christ Cathedral Parish, to do the same. This Christmas, may our tears not extinguish the candles that light the way to heaven.
A blessed Christmas to all,
Very Reverend Christopher Smith, Rector