Advent, Christmas and Epiphany are one season. It comes along in Canada during the darkest time of the year. Yet the major feasts of the time focus on the image of light. We see this in the advent wreath, the Christmas lights and now the image of the star. Even in the midst of darkness we celebrate the Light of Christ coming into our lives and our world.
Matthew’s story of the coming of the wise men (Matt 2:1-12) from the East offers many images of the wonder attached to the birth of the Christ. They are seekers on a quest to find the promised one. They did not know who this might be, or where the promise might be fulfilled. They were also outsiders, migrants willing to risk, seeking in hope.
The star was that glimmer of light that offered hope to them. At times it offered guidance. On occasion they lost sight of the light. Throughout their quest they found themselves depending on those they encountered along the way for guidance and assistance.
Their quest ended in an unexpected and remarkable way. The promise was fulfilled in the little town of Bethlehem at a meager house. There they discovered a young mother with a small new-born child. Jesus.
God’s surprising plan was in this way – to fulfill the expression of great and powerful love by way of the outsider, the weak and vulnerable, the poor and small. Thus, God touches and makes sacred every single human being, poor and rich, small and great. Our quest is to see and recognize the divine character that God has planted in each of us. What happened in Bethlehem was so that this light might lead us on our quest, even in darkness.
In a world often marked by hatred and violence, greed and injustice, in a world marked by ignorance and intolerance, there is a spark of hope and promise that enters our lives and takes root in each person. This spark, this light of Christ shows us another way.
Theologian, Megan McKenna presents an instance of how this other way is revealed as a spark in the surrounding darkness. She quotes a poem once set to music and performed at the ceremony in which the Nobel Peace Prize was presented. What is significant about this poem is that it was written by a 12 year old girl living in midst of the Palestinian-Israeli violence and conflict. It truly reveals a commitment to another way – to live, to belong, to love, to show forth the glory of God among us. The poem is entitled: ``I Had a Box of Paints``
I had a box of paint. Each colour glowing with delight:
I had a box of paints with colours warm and cool and bright.
I had no red for wounds and blood. I had no black for an orphaned child.
I had no white for the face of the dead. I had no yellow for burning sand.
I had orange for joy and life. I had greens for buds and blooms.
I had blue for clear bright skies. I had pink for dreams and rest.