December 2011

A Christmas Message from the National Mission Group

Pregnant with Dawn

We humans are creatures of light! Our very body functions are tuned to the circadian rhythms of daylight and darkness. When we are “in the dark” we become disoriented, confused and fearful even in our most familiar surroundings. In the dark we see, hear and imagine all sorts of fearful things that dissipate with a little light.

Genesis 1 tells in heroic imagery the origins of the created world.  God’s first act of creation was light. “Let there be light,” proclaimed the Creator, and there was light! All life forms grew and developed in the light; from the most basic cellular beings, to every kind of bird, fish and mammal, to the human person created in God’s own image, creation was attuned to light.

Perhaps our affinity for light is rooted in that very truth – the remembrance that we are created in the image of God, who is Light itself. God who first called forth light from darkness reveals Godself as Light throughout salvation history. God spoke to Moses in the flame of the burning bush; he led the Israelites by a pillar of fire. And, in the fullness of time, the radiance of a star led shepherds and sages alike to the humble crib of a Child. It was this Child, born in the cover of darkness, who was destined to be a “light for the nations.”

Dom Helder Camara, the late Archbishop of Recife, Brazil, and a powerful voice for the poor, wrote: “In the middle of the night, when stark night was darkest, then you chose to come...Lord, you were born in the middle of the night because midnight is pregnant with dawn.”

This is the reality of Christmas. We read daily of the sufferings of brothers and sisters whose lives are torn apart by war, poverty, hunger and devastation. We have family and friends who are bearing the pain of illness, grief, and loss. In these moments when darkness seems to engulf us, we hold on to the truth that it is precisely into such darkness that Christ the Light has come. The true Light of the World, the Incarnate Word, had shed his radiance upon all of life transforming even death into life eternal.

The National Mission Group wishes you and your families a blessed and joy-filled Christmas. In the love of family and friends this Christmas, may you behold the light of God’s infinite love and mercy. In the health care ministry of Catholic Health Initiatives, may all those in any kind of need experience the hope, comfort and peace of this Holy Season.