Everybody who knows me knows that I get cold very easily. When winter starts coming through, I begin to basically hibernate. I don’t go outside at all when it is anywhere from 43° to 32°F or lower. Unfortunately, I am forced to miss Holy Mass on Sundays several times. Bundling up works, which is what I do even in the lower 50s, but only to a certain extent. Many layers, and I’m still cold. How cold? My body temperature has been known to drop to 92° with me functioning normally. Call me Iceman.
I’m not at all a fan of the winter weather. And today’s the first day of winter, December 21 I miss the sunshine.
In the summer, I am known to sit outside for hours, soaking up the sun so to speak. For as long as I can, I just stay there avoiding any semblance of shade until it gets too humid or my face and hands feel like they are burning off. But I just can’t get enough of the sun. I feel energetic and strengthened by the sun. I am like Superman who gets his energy and strength the sun. One glimpse of a ray of sunlight makes me extremely happy.
I often ask Alexa for weather updates. She politely obliges and tells me that it’s 30 something degrees outside and that there will be plenty of sun but then she adds – – “enjoy the sunshine!” I think she’s mocking me.
I am writing this reflection on the first day of winter, December 21. It is the last Saturday of Advent, the second and final stage of preparation for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is the day that the Church cries out:
O Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Sun of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!Traditional O Antiphon, O Dayspring or O Oriens
During the eight days right before Christmas, there is a series of antiphons which are sung or chanted at evening prayer or vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. I believe I have written a little bit about them before, here on this blog. Anyway, these antiphons are called the O Antiphons, and they are each based on a messianic prophecy found in Book of Isaiah, for example, the one for today:
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shown.Isaiah 9:1
The O Antiphons also make up the verses of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”:
I really love praying on these titles which are ultimately fulfilled in the long expected Divine King, Jesus the Christ or Messiah. The all antiphons supercharged last-minute preparation for Christmas as they express our longing for a Savior. As I am particularly missing the sunshine today because it is cold and dark, I am reminded that it is Jesus who is warmth and light. He is the light shines in the depths of darkness, including the darkness within, illuminating it with the radiance of his life. The darkness cannot fathom or bear the light that he brings and Is destroyed under his brilliance:
“For behold, the day comes, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings.”Malachi 4:1 – 2
For all those who receive the Light, the Light changes them into himself, strengthening them to shine it onto others. That is why he who said, “I AM the Light of the World” can say to us, “You are the Light of the World.” This is what we long for, for the true light to come into the world and enlighten, transform, and elevate us, we who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. And one day, the day that will never end, when the cold and chill are done away with, these words will come to pass:
And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they shall reign for ever and ever.Revelation 22:5
Come Lord Jesus!