O Rising Sun You are the splendour of eternal light and the Sun of Justice. O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!

Today the shortest day of the year when the sun reaches its lowest point in the sky (for us in the northern hemisphere at any rate!) and darkness seems to envelop us it is very appropriate that the Church puts on our lips the beautiful antiphon which cries out to our true Light to come and enlighten us.

O Rising Sun You are the splendour of eternal light and the Sun of Justice. O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!

However let us not forget that our true light has already come into our world in the person of Jesus Christ, the Word Incarnate – as St John tells us in the Prologue of his Gospel. The Word was the real light that gives light to everyone – He was coming into the world – He was in the world that had come into being through Him and the world did not recognise Him.

2000 years later as we look around at our world surrounded as we are by so much sin and darkness within our own hearts, in the Church and society we can be blinded to the Presence of the true Light shining in our midst.

God is Light – in Him there is no darkness – Jesus says: “I am the light of the world – whoever follows Me will have the light of life”.

Many people who have ‘after death experiences’ speak of a gentle beckoning light welcoming them to approach and in this light they are able to look truthfully at their past lives.

There is something very gentle in the rising sun – dawn breaks very gradually almost imperceptibly. It does not happen all at once – but very gradually. So too our letting go of our attachment to sin and all that blinds us to God’s Presence is a gradual process. God is Light but He is also Love. In the words of one of our Advent hymns: “your love shall be our light Emmanuel Lord”. In these last days of Advent we pray that His love will soften and heal our hearts and gradually open our eyes to recognise the light of His Presence – Emmanuel – God with us’ and may we in our turn bring His light and love to all those with whom we come in contact and those for whom we pray.