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December 30, 2013
Luminaries
By Cheryl Dickow *

By Cheryl Dickow *

Throughout history the word “light” has been used to portray goodness, charity, kindness, and salvation. Light, after all, removes darkness—whether literally or metaphorically. People say, “She lit up the room when she entered,” or “He is the light of my life.” We understand the significance of those phrases. During the Christmas season—when the amount of actual daylight is at its most limited—we are most fully aware that Christ is the light of the world. It seems rather fitting that in the long hours without light that we contemplate how He dispels the darkness in our lives. We are able to become keenly aware that He conquers the shadows that sometimes seem to overtake us. During the Christmas season we most fully realize that through the light of Christ we find our way to the Father. A beautiful tradition during Christmastime is to light luminaries. The history behind luminaries is rich and beautiful — and varied. Shepherds marked the way to the Christ child with small fires. Centuries later, the Mexican people would gather around celebratory fires in the town square to sing and give thanks for the Lord’s birth. Elsewhere, small fires would mark the route to church for midnight Mass. Christmas is the time to remember that, in some way, we each are called to be a light to another sojourner—to be a luminary.

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