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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1:1-5)

During this time of the year, when the days are short and the darkness of night can feel so long, we especially notice the darkness that pierces our own lives: the darkness of our world in places like Berlin, Syria, and the Middle East; the darkness which comes from natural disasters and divisions in our communities; as well as the darkness of fear and uncertainty, as those we know and love face illness, loss, or the death of loved ones. Even on Christmas Eve, as we hold our candles in darkened churches, we shelter the flickering flames from the darkness which threatens to extinguish their light.

However, in spite of this, God’s word for us in this holy season is that Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, shines in a darkness that cannot overcome it. He was born that we might have light in our darkness, wholeness in our brokenness, and love in a world that can be filled with hate. The birth of Emmanuel assures us that God is with us and for us, and that God’s love never fails.

A popular song sung in this Christmas season is “O Holy Night.” It presents a picture of the stars shining brightly on that first Christmas night in a world pining in sin, yearning deeply for our Savior’s birth. As this Christmas and Epiphany season unfolds, and as each day lengthens and the hours of darkness shorten, let us remember that we are the beloved children of God, children of the Light and of the Day. And let us give thanks for the light and life we celebrate in the birth of the Christ Child, ever turning towards the Light which the darkness cannot overcome.

May you have a Blessed and Merry Christmas season and a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Bishop Wilma S. Kucharek