This Sunday is the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. The readings are from Isaiah 8:23-9:3; Psalm 27:1, 4, 13-14; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 17; and Matthew 4:12-23.
A few years ago, I discovered the idea of hygge (HOO-gah). It’s a Danish concept that I essentially understand as coziness: home, low lighting, warm drinks, cozy blankets, and togetherness – these are a few of my favorite things, as the song goes! I started incorporating hygge elements into my home, particularly after Christmas. I always feel a void after the decorations are put away, but particularly the lights. I miss the glow of the tree and our mantle when nothing in the room is lit but the strings of lights. (So now I just substitute some fairy lights in the midst of the overcast winter to warm the room!) A friend of mine, Emily, recently posted about her Christmas tree on Instagram. She and her family have been going through almost Biblical-type struggles and challenges lately (please pray for them). She said that her Christmas tree is still up and decorated, partly out of necessity because of their circumstances but also because it is currently bringing them all joy in their darkness. She writes, “This tree keeps reminding me that Jesus is here, keeping vigil with us in the darkness, blessing us with glimmers of light, beauty, and joy, even when the sun is hidden.”
I asked her if I could reference her post in my reflection this week in particular because I was so inspired by how hopeful she remains while things are falling apart around them. This weekend’s readings include the contrasting imagery of light and darkness. Matthew references the prophecy from Isaiah of Jesus as the light that illuminates the darkness; this image is very comforting to me, maybe because of the dark and dreary weather, maybe because of some palpable tension, maybe because I am looking for joy and warmth. Remember that Jesus is the light, and, as John tells us, the darkness (no matter how dark) cannot overcome it. If you are searching for something in your life, plug in a string of lights and allow the glow to remind you that Jesus can similarly illuminate all areas of your life.