The Feast of the Incarnation is all about the presence of God. We celebrate the wonder of God coming into our world, sharing our humanity. The season with its hectic pace impedes our recognizing the ever-present God who is among us. It is hard to step back and notice God’s presence in all those around us. Perhaps there is a way to address this. It is in the halos.
A halo is that circle of light that we often see in sacred art. Painters, sculptors and other artists use it to represent the presence of God in the midst of our world. The halo on a person, thing, or occasion reveals the divine presence as light, flowing forth from a created reality. The artists may be onto something.
Seeing the halos means taking advantage of opportunities to see the presence of God in the humanity and creation that surrounds us all the time – even in the busyness. Our patient God is always present, even when we are distracted and our lives are fragmented. God willingly waits until we notice.
These halos are not always the circles of light portrayed by artists. God is continually present with us. In that person whom we love or by whom we are loved. In the stranger whose kindness we notice. In that person to whose need we can respond. Halos of God’s presence are all around us. The busyness and the distractions of life can blind us to them, but they are there waiting for us to notice and to respond.
In the midst of our busy Christmas season, we may long for the peace and the joy that we associate with this time. We may even hope to create it with all our efforts. Christmas may be the time to let God act among us. The patient, loving God who comes among us will be there, waiting for us to notice the constancy of presence in the halos all around us. It can be a time to see the halos in our families, our friends, even in the strangers we encounter.
Pope Francis I has called our Catholic community to a Jubilee Year of Mercy. Mercy is all about openness. This year of Mercy calls us to welcome all who come to us, especially those who are the outcasts and the lost, those who have drifted from our community for whatever the reason. This openness is also for those who are the vulnerable ones of our world - the poor, the homeless and the refugee. This is where we find halos. For here is the presence of God amongst us.
Where can I notice the halos in my life this Christmas?