‘I’ll be home for Christmas:’ A song of hope and of light in the darkness
The song, “I’ll be home for Christmas,” has new meaning for me this year.
Four of our dear Sisters of Providence have recently died in less than a week’s time; and, in each case, I have heard someone say, “I think they wanted to be home for Christmas.”
We feel sadness at their passing, however, that feeling is transformed into a kind of deep peace when we think of death as “going home.” For Sisters of Providence that home, we believe, is with and in God.
This might seem like a strange reflection at a time of the year when we are celebrating a birth, and the operative emotion suggested is JOY. But of all the gifts that Christmas brings perhaps none is more important than the abiding truth that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life” (John 3:16).
It is faith in this promise of God’s love that gives us hope, that brings light into our darkness. The reading from the prophet Isaiah, used during the Christmas day liturgy proclaims, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing.”
This Christmas I ask you to join in prayer for those who feel like they are walking in a land of gloom. We know who they are…
…. those who have just received a diagnosis that seems more than they or their family can bear.
…. those who feel as if they have no one with whom to share life.
… those who have lost a loved one through a violent act whether in the streets of Chicago or in the country of Myanmar.
… those who actually fear a loss of home because of their immigration status.
… those whose addictions threaten their lives and the lives of others.
It seems almost impossible to imagine abundant joy and rejoicing in any of these situations and others like them. That is the miracle of the Christ’s light. It comes into the darkness. It is incarnated in each of us. And it was incarnated beautifully in our four sisters who are now home for Christmas. Let us pray to them and others in the communion of saints to give us the strength and the courage we need to be that Christ-light for each other and for our world.
Merry Christmas from all the Sisters of Providence. May you sing a song of hope and light this season and throughout the coming year.