The Advent season has been filled with joyful anticipation for the birth of Christ. We wait each week and watch as the Advent candles glow, increasing in light as we approach Christmas. Lights play a significant role in our celebration of both the Advent season and our preparations for Christmas. Each year, I would spend an often-cold Saturday with my children preparing the outside of our home with Christmas lights. In the days of old Christmas lights, we would take time to check each string of lights to make sure each bulb worked, meticulously changing the bulbs that had gone out. At the end of the day, the kids were always excited to see the finished illuminated product and even as adults, there is something almost magical about the lights of Christmas.
Our hearts during the Christmas season are like the Christmas lights of the past. It is not enough to simply turn on the lights in celebration. We must take the time to tend to our hearts and prepare them for Jesus. As one would untangle strings of lights and check for missing bulbs, I encourage you to look within your heart to see where the light of Christ may be hindered. Do we hold burdens and anger within our hearts? Are there unresolved conflicts or distractions that dim our light? These are questions that are not just for our adult hearts but also the hearts of our children. During Advent, spend time in prayer with your children and model ways in which we can search our hearts and ask for God’s intercession in areas of need.
The Christmas season is an opportunity for families to come together and share the light of Christ. As a family, take time to consider ways to open your hearts to the greatest possible light. Just as Jesus is our light, we must be a light for others. Teaching this to our children through our words and our actions is tremendously important. These practices of being the light to others especially during the Christmas season is an opportunity for children to embrace these traditions into their adult lives. Volunteering, donating time and talent, and donating of material goods are just a few ways to guide children in being the light to others. Incorporating daily prayer and praying on behalf of others is also a wonderful way to kindle the light of Christmas.
Christmas lights are a wonderful symbol of the holiday season and provide a sense of magic for children and adults alike, but we must remember that they represent more than the secular celebration of the season. Christmas lights represent the light of Christ that shines within our hearts. Jesus is a light for all the world and the lights during Advent and Christmas are representations of the light in our world. It is a reminder that we can also be a light in the darkness just like Christ. I pray that this Advent and Christmas season is filled with opportunities for you to give and receive the light of Christ. May your Christmas be filled with the joy of the season as we celebrate the birth of the Messiah.
Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D.
Superintendent ~ Catholic School Support Services