Daily Reflection
December 31st, 2007

Eileen Wirth

Journalism Department
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Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas
1 John 2:18-21
Psalm 96:1-2, 11-12, 13
John 1:1-18

“What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”

As I write this, a little less than two weeks before Christmas, I am envisioning a solemn procession of lighted candles being carried down the main aisle of St. John’s Church here on campus. A single bell tolls for each one.

These were not the usual holiday candles or even the meditative candles of Advent. These were memorial candles for a horror that unfolded exactly a week ago as I write this: the shooting rampage at Omaha’s Westroads Mall on December 5th that killed nine people, including the gunman.

Ironically, those unforgettable candles speak to St. John’s message even more strongly than our normal joyous Christmas candles. They remind us that we believe that life is stronger than death and that darkness cannot overcome the light that Jesus brought into the world.

That’s hard to believe at times but it speaks of our fundamental identity as Christians. I’m no Pollyanna. Life is full of hardship, tragedy and loss like the carnage at Westroads. Good people die far too young of cancer, heart attacks and in auto accidents and natural disasters. The longer we live, the better acquainted we become with loss.

Yet in spite of this, we Christians persist in believing in the power of hope and in trying to live as people of hope. That’s what this season is about.

We should not forget that December 25th is only the beginning of a season of hope and love, and especially a time for showing concern for those who most need it. It is up to each of us to join with Christ to prove the truth of today’s wonderful passage from John.

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