Reflection for Sunday, January 3, 2021: Second Sunday of Christmas.

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Maynard, Angela
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|As I reflect on today's readings, I look outside on fresh fallen snow and there is sunshine adding sparkle to a crisp winter day in Nebraska.  It's absolutely beautiful and very bright!|The light is what adds hope and joy to the days that can be somewhat of a letdown after the typical hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. |This year has been different for nearly everybody around the world.  The global pandemic has caused illness, isolation, fear and complete disruption in the lives of many.  Additionally, the season of joy can be a time of struggle for those missing loved ones, and those facing other challenges.  What to do?|In today's gospel, John reminds us that Jesus is the light, and darkness will never overcome the light.  Sometimes we just need to be patient and look for the light.  The light may not always be obvious, but I truly believe that God provides light in many forms.  Just like snowflakes create a blanket of protection during the winter, small glimmers of light provide hope and promise.|I'd like to share a wonderful example of light that was provided to a family after a considerable amount of time, patience and perseverance.|On Christmas night, we experienced a significant loss in our family.  The last of a wonderful generation was called home to Heaven.  My 94- year old great uncle had just beat COVID-19.  He struggled with mobility issues, pain and vision loss. Subsequently, he moved from a home he built with the love of his life to an assisted living center.  He was able to spend Christmas Day with family.  This man was a faith-filled legend!  He was loved by so many, so while we believe he received the ultimate Christmas gift, those of us left behind are hurting. |He lost his beloved wife 31 years ago. A plant was sent to the family at the time of her death.  A daughter-in-law provided great care to the plant for years.  Despite trips to nurseries, garden shops and examinations by many a gardener, nobody could really figure out what kind of plant this actually was.  There were some ideas, but since the plant didn't bloom, it was never correctly identified.  In the days leading to Christmas, the family began to notice a fragrant scent that filled the house. Not only was there a lovely scent, but the plant was blooming!  For 31 years the plant refused to bloom-- until this year and just days before the patriarch was called to be with his beloved wife and so many who had gone before him.  This blooming plant has served as a glimmer of light to so many in our family.  While we are  grateful for a life well-lived, we are sad. |In times of darkness, remember that even in the darkest days, there is some light—we need to keep the faith and watch.  Today's gospel reminds us that the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. Keep this reminder close.|Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.                          |--Helen Keller
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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