Midnight Eucharist - Light in the Darkness

Author: 
Rev'd Heather
Date: 
Tuesday, December 24, 2019 - 11:30pm
Midnight - Light in the darkness
 

I wonder what it was that convinced you that it is a good idea to come to a Holy Communion service in the middle of the night? I’m no night owl, and once it gets past 10pm, I would, quite frankly, like to be asleep – children permitting. Yet there is something very compelling, something very special, about coming together to celebrate the Gift of Godself to us this holy night, in the person of Jesus. 

 

For unlike Santas gifts you don’t need to have been ‘good’ this year. God’s gift of Godself is there and freely offered for all who wish to receive Him. All you need is an open heart…

 

And Gods gift of Godself is the greatest gift to receive. The Gospel reading we just heard – from the prologue to John’s Gospel, describes God’s gift of Godself in quite a philosophical way. Unlike the Luke account, there is no mention of Jesus’ birth in a stable, let alone angels and shepherds. Instead John refers to this gift of the Son, Jesus, as the true lightcoming into the world. 

 

A much needed light, for within our world there is darkness. We hear this so often in the news. And within our lives we may find ourselves carrying the darkness - sadness, despair, fear and burdens, to name but just a few

 

In Jesus, God sends himself to be a lightto shine in our darkness, a light that is not overcome. A light that brings hope and goodness, a light that we are invited to receive to fill our lives and let shine, that we may reveal it to others. 

 

Howard Thurman, a twentieth century American theologian and civil rights activist, illustrates the transformation that light can bring:

 

I will light candles this Christmas.

Candles of joy, despite all the sadness.

Candles of hope where despair keeps watch.

Candles of courage where fear is ever present.

Candles of peace for tempest-tossed days.

Candles of grace to ease heavy burdens.

Candles of love to inspire all of my living.

Candles that will burn all the year long.

 

It is amazing how brightly flames shine in the darkness. How they transform darkness to light. The flames of light flicker, dancing about, with a wonderful knowledge that the light brings joy, hope, courage, peace, grace and love. 

 

We are invited to welcome Christ’s light into our hearts this Christmas, and most especially as we come forward to the altar rail to receive God’s gift of communion or God’s blessing. 

 

God promises through this Mass, this Eucharist, this communion service to be present with us in a very special way as we recall not only his birth but also his death and resurrection. I remember as a child being asked what I thought was the most important Christian festival, and my mind kept swinging between Christmas and Easter. We need Christmas, because that is the time that God gave us that gift of Godself on earth, to live among us, to be our light in this world. But Easter is so important, for it is in Christ’s death and resurrection that we come to realize that not even the darkness of death could extinguish the light of Christ. That with God there is everlasting life.

 

And so it is only appropriate that as we celebrate Christmas – a word meaning the Mass of Christ – that we share this holy meal together and receive God’s blessing. For it is through this simple, yet profound meal, approaching God with open hearts, that we receive the Gift of Jesus and his light in our hearts and lives, so that we may be sent out to share those gifts of joy, hope, courage, peace, grace and love around us that Thurman talks about, and be ourselves candles of light in this community.  Amen.