Lead kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet! I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.
— Blessed John Henry Newman (1801-1890)
I love Newman’s reflection, his simple plea that he be led, and not lead. In turn, he promises to not look too far ahead, but only at the step before him. If we could all approach life this way…
This past weekend was another filled with events bringing us one step closer to the Light of Lights.
Saturday after Mass, our parish’s fifth-graders presented a dinner theater, the script of which was written by our pastor and included all three of our priests as the Magi. The play incorporated various Christmas songsÂ into the storyline. It included our youngest daughter as the innkeeper’s wife and one of her good friends as Mary. (Isn’t baby Jesus great?) The opening scene had the Wisemen trudging through the dark, singing as they wound their way through the crowd and up onto the stage. As the play went on, the stage grew lighter and lighter.
We also finally bought a tree for our home and, after letting it defrost, dragged out the decorations and began stringing lights and as many ornaments as it could hold. I enjoy all of this more now that the kids can help and take so much pleasure in seeing again all the special items that have been stored away the past year.
Finally, a daughter and I took in the final Christmas concert of the season, the eighth-annual candlelight concert put on by Shanley High School. I’m always impressed by the caliber of these high-school students, who sound more like what I remember of our college choir than that of our high-school choir.
While experiencing the latter, I once again tried to contemplate what it might be like to experience Christmas devoid of faith. I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, perhaps, but with each passing year, I feel I appreciate my faith and how I’m able to process my life through it more and more. Even when I’m having a blah day, when I hear words inspired by the faith perspective, everything changes. I love my faith! And I love how vibrant it makes life, even when darkness surrounds.
Q4U: What and/or how are you feeling as the final Advent candle is lit and Christmas draws near?