Our collect for this Sunday thanks God for pouring "upon us the new light of [His] incarnate Word" and asks God to grant "that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives." Our readings from scripture elaborate on the divine gift we have received. Isaiah strikes a note of rejoicing, his "whole being" exulting in God's gift of salvation. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul reminds us that through Christ's birth we have become the children of God by adoption, and because we are children, "God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts." The gospel for this Sunday is always the magnificent opening of John: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." The Word became incarnate in this world, and yet the world did not know him. But to all who receive him, he gives "power to become children of God." We have seen his glory, John proclaims, "the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth," and "[f]rom his fulness we have all received, grace upon grace."
I hope that you will make time to reflect daily during this Christmas time on the grace God has poured into our lives. In our worship, we will give thanks for the light that has been given to us, and we will be strengthened to let that light shine forth in our lives. On Christmas Day, I recited a couplet that Lord George Carey shared recently in the Daily Mail. Learned long ago, he finds it relevant today: "Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem is born, if he's not born in thee, thy heart's forlorn." May these twelve days of Christmas be for us all a time of joyful celebration of Christ's birth in our hearts.