Christian Comment with Fr Christopher Whitehead, Parish Priest, Catholic Parish of Stroud.

WE’RE nudging, in this part of the world, towards the shortest day when the darkness is at its ‘strongest’ and the light of day seems to come and go so quickly.

Many go to and come back from school and work in the darkness of the winter but from the shortest day light grows ever stronger and the daytime lengthens. This symbolism of a growing light was not lost on the early Christians as they wanted to celebrate the birth of the Light of the World.

Adopting the pagan feast of the birth of the sun god it was transformed into the celebration of the birth of the Son of God – the beauty and radiancy of Christ’s light breaking into the darkness of our world and into our lives.

And, of course, it is light that accompanies our journey through the season of preparation, of waiting, of longing and of hope – Advent.

Each Sunday of this beautiful season another candle is lit until all four glow in that spirit of expectation.

The wreath of Advent is not just a countdown to Christmas but a reminder of the need to let the light and love of God shine onto our world through us.

The more we let God in, the more his love and his light will shine.

Into the stillness and silence of the night, God’s love is born.

In the birth of that child, God speaks his word to us, the one word he longs for us to hear.

The child of Bethlehem would spend his life reminding humanity how to be human.

His was a light that would guide people into being loved and into being love.

From fear, loneliness, isolation and emptiness, his was a light that revealed the beauty of humanity in order to teach us a simple truth in ways that we could see, touch, and hear – that we are loved by God, we have value and we have worth.

That’s the Good News of Christmas; that’s God’s word of love, light and peace that God speaks – God’s word to us is Jesus. Happy Christmas.