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Finding Color in the Dark Days

December 31, 2020   The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas (Lectionary: 203)

Reading 1   1 JN 2:12-17
I am writing to you, children,
because your sins have been forgiven for his name’s sake.

I am writing to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I am writing to you, young men,
because you have conquered the Evil One.

I write to you, children,
because you know the Father.

I write to you, fathers,
because you know him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men,
because you are strong and the word of God remains in you,
and you have conquered the Evil One.

Do not love the world or the things of the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world,
sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life,
is not from the Father but is from the world.
Yet the world and its enticement are passing away.
But whoever does the will of God remains forever.

Responsorial Psalm   PS 96:7-8A, 8B-9, 10
R. (11a) Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Give to the LORD, you families of nations,
give to the LORD glory and praise;
give to the LORD the glory due his name!
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Bring gifts, and enter his courts;
worship the LORD in holy attire.
Tremble before him, all the earth.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice!

Alleluia
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A holy day has dawned upon us.
Come, you nations, and adore the Lord.
Today a great light has come upon the earth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   LK 2:36-40
There was a prophetess, Anna,
the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.
She was advanced in years,
having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,
and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.
She never left the temple,
but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.
And coming forward at that very time,
she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child
to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions
of the law of the Lord,
they returned to Galilee,
to their own town of Nazareth.
The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;
and the favor of God was upon him.

By Mary Susan Delagrange

I recently saw a video of a man who lives with colorblindness. In it, he had a pair of glasses designed to allow those with colorblindness to see the full spectrum of color. He stood on the balcony of a huge building during a vibrant sunset while a friend filmed him putting the glasses on for the first time. His reaction made me cry. He was so genuinely thrilled to see the world in a new way, he just kept saying in disbelief, “That’s what you see??!”

How many times do I lean into my own spiritual colorblindness?

How often do I find myself actively seeking out that which is harsh, ugly, painful?

If I’m honest, I can frequently be found comparing myself to women I admire and judging others I love to hate. I find it quite easy to welcome criticism and doubt allowing them to nestle into my heart. I snuggle myself up to fear and cynicism and comfortably put on my blinders. 

For some reason, blinders are easier. When darkness and grayscale are my default, it’s easy to believe what the world tells me is true. It’s easy to settle for complacency and to find twisted comfort in anger because that’s the message I’ve accepted from the world. I came to be through Him, yet I do not know Him.

But, even in grayscale there is light.

Even in the most dismal of times Jesus comes and is light. The most powerful blinders cannot block Him out. Not completely.

He dwells among us offering me eyes to see the fullness of His vision for me. And some days I get it. Some days when I’m faithful to prayer, when I actively seek Him and consciously work to let in the light, I am like the man on the balcony seeing the world for the first time. When I am consistent in offering Him my brokenness, I can visibly see the light pouring in through the cracks in my life.

I know that as I move into a new year, there will be times when the glasses slip, when it’s harder to see Christ’s bright goodness amidst the gloom.

But on those days, when I revert back into habitual sin or find myself tempted to despair, I will remember what’s true: light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. 

My prayer for the new year is for the grace to let in the light. I pray that my life might be a living testament to the Word regardless of whether I feel Christ’s light pouring over me or if I have to squint and crane to catch even a glimpse of a glimmer. On bright days and dark days, may my heart continually ring forth the message, crying out into this wild and hurting world that, “This is He. This is the One who became flesh. This is He who dwells among us. Hallowed be His name.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Mary Susan Delagrange is a professional juggler. She juggles four kids, a butcher husband, a highly excitable labradoodle, her birth doula business, and blogs about it all at. A native Texan living in Ohio, she spends her days dreaming of real Mexican food, journaling, drinking too much coffee, and escaping to run in the woods whenever she gets the chance. You can find out more about her here.  

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