“It is what it is!” Have you ever said these words? In them, we hear resignation. My personhood does not really matter, and I have no power to change things. I simply cope with the darkness of life situations.
“Shed upon Your Church, O Lord, the brightness of your light…….” So begins the Collect for the Feast of St. John The Evangelist. In contrast to resignation, this prayer echoes vibrancy, hope, and upliftment as we journey from the world’s darkness, into the illuminating light of Christ.
In this Sunday’s gospel (Matthew 2:1-12), wise men, illumined by the brightness of heaven’s light, went in search of the newborn King. But Herod, unable to perceive that Jesus came to rule in spiritual power, trembled frightfully and insecurely when he heard of the wise men’s search. The very presence of Christ, although in the form of an infant, interrupted the old rhythm of life, engendering fear and opposition. Herod begins making plans to get rid of the Christ Child. The fear and opposition at the birth of Jesus foreshadowed the opposition that Christ would face in His earthly ministry as He illumined the world with God’s light of love and truth.
How do we react when something new and different enters our lives and challenges our outlook? Our human reaction is to cling more tightly to the old. But the wise men excitedly convinced of the truth in the message of the heavenly star, found the freedom to pursue an unknown journey into the new. Their openness to receive the new led them to the Christ Child. And they were overwhelmed with joy! By faith the great sages of the East, considered Gentiles, paid a humble Baby homage, presenting Him with kingly gifts. Jesus’ birth signaled a new beginning. The light of the good news of peace and goodwill would be spread to all nations, all persons!
There is therefore no room for resignation (“it is what it is”) in God’s sphere. Instead, we are invited into the fire of joy, excitement, and passion! The light of God’s love for all persons shines through His Incarnate Son, Jesus Christ, assuring us that each of us do matter. God demonstrates the depth of His love that even when we were in sin, Christ came and lived among us, then died to lead us out of darkness into eternal joy and peace, found only in Him! Thanks be to God!
Blessings for a joyous New Year! May we grow inattentiveness and openness to the brightness of Christ’s light shed powerfully upon us in His Word and Sacraments!!