December 21, 2021
O Radiant Dawn, you are the splendor of eternal light and the sun of justice. O come and shine on those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death.
Four days before the birth of the Light, on this Winter Solstice, in the O Antiphons, the ancient prayer-song of waiting and expectation, the fifth title given to the Christ (or Light, or Love, if you prefer) is Radiant Dawn. Of the seven names that compose the antiphons, this one, based again on the words of the prophet Isaiah, resonates most with me: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined. (Isaiah 9:2)
Last year at this same time, as Covid was killing off thousands of people around the globe and vaccinations were not yet available, we were all living in deep darkness, indeed. I wrote daily blogs about the presence of the Light and encouraged myself and others to “Light your candles quietly, such candles as you possess, wherever you are” (Fr. Alfred Delp, martyred by the Nazis). Here we are, a solid year later, still in the midst of pandemic, of political unrest, of inequality, of doubts and fears that persist throughout the years. Yet still, through the darkness, the Light does shine. It happens every single day as the sun rises on us once more, offering the grace of new beginnings. We have been given another day to shine, to be courageous enough to light our candles.
Who needs our light? It could be the person behind us in the check-out line, the exhausted mother trying to live up to holiday expectations, the child hurt by that same mother’s impatience, an Uber driver, the friend saying goodbye to a beloved pet, the person facing a first Christmas without a loved one, the one with whom we live daily. Or maybe it is us. Light shines in any form of compassion.
“The Light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it” (John 1:5). This is a promise, a reality, and a gift for all of us. Together, may we reflect the Light across the world.
Prayer: O Radiant Dawn, each day when the sun crests the horizon, you offer us another day of life. Help us not to take that gift for granted but to celebrate it. Show us how to shine our own lights, no matter how small or insignificant we may think they are, on a world dwelling in fear and sorrow. Let our lights be beams of love that fall on those who sit in any kind of darkness, and may we each be open to receiving your Light. May it be so.
Blessings to you ~ Rosemary firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit Pixabay