The people that walked in darkness
has seen a great light;
on those who live in a land of deep shadow
a light has shone.
You have made their gladness greater,
you have made their joy increase;
they rejoice in your presence
as men rejoice at harvest time,
as men are happy when they are dividing the spoils.
For the yoke that was weighing on him,
the barb across his shoulders,
the rod of his oppressor,
these you break as on the day of Midian.
For all the footgear of battle,
every cloak rolled in blood,
and consumed by fire.
For there is a child born for us,
a son given to us
and dominion is laid on his shoulders;
and this is the name they give him:
Wide is his dominion
in a peace that has no end,
for the throne of David
and for his royal power,
which he establishes and makes secure
in justice and integrity.
From this time onwards and for ever,
the jealous love of the Lord of Hosts will do this.
The reading above was read at Mass last night, and may be heard again today. There are three sets of readings for Mass on Christmas Day itself (plus readings for the afternoon of Christmas Eve). The readings for the Day are allocated to Mass during the Night, Dawn and during the Day: however they can be used at any Mass on Christmas Day.
The reading above perhaps has its greatest power when we hear it during the night, as darkness is pierced by Christmas light. But of course it can also serve well as a sort of ‘morning-after’ reading as we gather during the morning light and reflect at what the Lord has accomplished.
And as we consider what more he seeks to achieve with us.
For many are those who still walk in darkness. And though the Lord comes to them with love and to give them hope, that is not enough. We are called to make up what is evidently lacking, to cooperate and serve our brothers and sisters in need.
The mercy of God now requires us to live in solidarity with others, even as the Lord humbles himself to live in solidarity with us.
Lux Mundi (Light of the World): Holy Name church, Manchester. (c) 2016, Allen Morris.