Whether it is the lights twinkling on Christmas trees, the small flames of the Menorah candles, or the stars that emerge as the night descends upon us in the early evening, this is the season of light emerging in the darkness. That commemoration of light that pierces the darkness can also be seen in Christian, Jewish, and Islamic commemorations occurring this time of year.
Jewish communities recently observed Hanukkah, during which they celebrate a time when a small group of Jews drove out a mighty army to reclaim the Temple then experienced the miracle of Temple menorah (candelabra) continuing to burn for 8 nights when it only had enough oil for one night.
This year, Mawlid an-Nabi, the Islamic commemoration of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad also falls during this time of year. Muslims revere the Prophet Muhammad as the final messenger and greatest prophet of God who brought them the light of revelation in their holy text, the Qu’ran.
Christians are soon to celebrate the birth of Jesus, who is sometimes referred to as “the Light of the World.” They believe him to be the Son of God who is one with God, being both fully human and fully divine. He is viewed as the greatest expression of God’s love to humanity.
While we commemorate these spiritual expressions of light, we can’t ignore that our world often seems full of darkness. We read of war, murder, injustice, division, and discrimination. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. So we look to these points of light to maintain hope.
Here at JRLC we are in the business of seeking legislative justice. We strive to join together for the common good in spite of our differences in order to build a stronger Minnesota. In essence this is also an act of bringing light into places of darkness – working to eliminate the darkness of inequity and injustice in our state policies.
As a new year is nearly upon us, we hope that whatever your tradition is, you take the time to pause from the chaos of the world and busyness of daily life to reflect on the hope that occurs when a point of light disrupts the darkness. Look for ways to be a bearer of that light. Carry it to the places of darkness within our communities. In the words of St. Francis of Assisi…
“All the darkness in the world, cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”