We are coming to the end of the season of Christ’s birth. I hope you had a joyful and peaceful Christmas.
Christ’s birth among us, the Incarnation, God-in-the-flesh, is sometimes referred to as the Anglican heresy because we put so much emphasis on it. In Christ, God has taken on flesh and joined us in our lives has become one with us, even to the point of death. And the birth we celebrate is not only God’s coming into the life of the world, but – more to the point – God coming into OUR lives. Jesus was born in the manger, yes, and through the Spirit, in our hearts as well.
The implications of this birth, this Incarnation, are worked out in Epiphany. Christ is the light born into the darkness, and the darkness has not put it out. And if Christ is born in us, then his light shines in us, and we ourselves are light.
A favorite hymn in Epiphany is “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” We love to hear children sing that. But it’s not a children’s song. It’s a gospel song rooted in the experience of black folk in America, popularized in a 1940s arrangement by Harry Dixon Loes, who taught at the Moody Bible Institute, and claimed by the Civil Rights Movement. It was sung at countless Civil Rights rallies and demonstrations, sometimes, for protection against counter-demonstrators. It was sung into the darkness of oppression that the light within us, the light of Christ, could not be extinguished.
It’s the light of Christ, kindled in each of us, that keeps us going, putting one foot in front of the other. It’s that light that gives us true freedom in the search for justice. It’s that light that when shared gives us hope. It’s that light that is revealed in the myriad acts of generosity, kindness, and compassion that characterize us as Christian people.
So, when the children sign, let us sing with them with a full voice. Let us claim the light born in us, and let us in this season of Epiphany consider how we will let the light of Christ shine in our places and among our people.
This little light of mine - I’m going to let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine…
May it be so.