Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori issued her 2012 Christmas message today:
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
These words were spoken long ago to people living in anxiety, fear, and despair, people feeling bereft of security, safety, and any sense of God’s presence. We hear them early on Christmas, forgetting that they were first spoken hundreds of years before the birth we celebrate. Human beings across this planet still yearn to know that a more gracious and divine reality is active and evident in our lives.
The birth we celebrate is meant for this world mired in darkness and fear, yet it also becomes easier to discover in a tiny voice crying in protest over being cold and wet and hungry. We hear that cry in the midst of war’s ravages in Congo and Afghanistan, in the rubble of hurricane and earthquake, in the demeaning of chronic poverty, behind prison bars. That flickering of hope surges as the world turns to investigate this surprising new life, one heart at a time. The light grows as hearts catch fire with the same light that illumines the stars, pulsing hope and new life, even out of black holes.
Those who search in dark and despair, in dank dungeon and deep devastation, will find divine light given for the world. Light that will not be put out, so long as any creature remains to receive it, until and beyond the end of time. The darkness will never put it out.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1:5
Go and look – and discover the love of God poured into our world in human form. Hope reigns abroad, in the cosmos and in human hearts. And rejoice, for a child of the light is born in our midst!
The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
Spanish translation available here.