Scripture: Isaiah 9:2 (NRSV)
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.
I was born at the winter solstice - December 21st. People refer to it as the darkest day of the year, the shortest day, or the longest night. It is all that, but the actual solstice is the moment in the earth's orbit around the sun that our hemisphere begins tilting a little more toward the sun again. So I like to think of my birthday as the beginning of the return of the light instead of the darkest day. I got curious about how close to the solstice I was actually born, so I went on line to find the exact time of the solstice on the year of my birth and discovered that I was born one minute after the solstice that year.
All my life, I have believed that I was a Sagittarius; so this has been a sudden shift in my self-image. The sun was actually one minute into Capricorn (unless of course the White Plains hospital clock was a little fast or the nurse didn't look at it until a minute or so after I was born. Clearly she didn't know how important the exact time would become to me many years later). It will take me a little time to wrap my mind around being a Capricorn rather than a Sagittarius; but I do enjoy the idea that I was born exactly at or a minute after the solstice, because I want to be, in my life, a teacher and uplifter - a harbinger of the light. We celebrate the birth of Christ at this time of year because we believe that he embodied God's light in the world.
In these dark days of racial violence, growing terrorist threat, and mass migration of refugees, I believe that we are called to be witnesses to the light, workers for justice, and laborers for peace. Our country seems prone to fighting violence with violence - and how has that worked out so far? I want all that I say and do to spring from love and never from fear. Let us share the light rather than deepening the darkness.
With Saint Francis, I pray that we might be instruments of peace, love, forgiveness, faith, hope, and joy in the world. May we be faithful witnesses to the light of Christ. Amen.