The month of February begins with a beautiful liturgical celebration – the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. This feast is associated with light. Usually, the liturgy begins early in the morning before sunrise, and there is a procession to the church with lighted candles. With this, we proclaim that Jesus is the light of the world that dispels all darkness and accompanies us on our pilgrimage to heaven.
In the Old Testament, we find that light is very often associated with God. Bright clouds, burning bush, and the pillar of fire were signs of God’s presence for them. The conviction that “the Lord is my light and my salvation” (Ps. 27:1) was deeply rooted in the minds of the biblical people. And the prophet Simeon proclaimed the Child Jesus as “a light for revelation to the Gentiles.” Jesus himself reveals himself as light, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Light helps us to see things. Jesus gives us the true light and reveals the truth about God. Jesus guides us safely through life to our heavenly home. Light prevents crime. Jesus is goodness itself. Light dispels the darkness that represents evil. Jesus pierces the darkness of sin and death and defeats it. All the darkness of the world cannot extinguish a single candle flame. Jesus cannot be overcome by evil.
We often think of Jesus as our light. John begins his Gospel by saying that “the true light that enlightens all people has come into the world” (John 1:9). In the Nicene Creed, we call Jesus “light from the light.” Our greatest feast, the Easter Vigil, opens with the lighting of an Easter candle of new fire to praise the light of Christ.
May the light of Christ illuminate us, and may we always live in His light. We look forward to the eternal light in God’s kingdom, where for all God’s saints “There will be no more night, and they will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun. For the Lord their God will shine upon them, and they will reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:5).