Many ways to spread God’s light

By  Lisa Petsche
  • December 10, 2007

It’s been several weeks since we turned back the clocks, ending daylight savings time, but I’m still adjusting. It feels particularly strange to drive home from work in the dark. I much prefer being out and about during daylightot hours; I have more energy and I feel safer, too.

That being said, I admit to enjoying the feeling I get when I pull into my driveway and see the porch light shining brightly and lamplight radiating gently from my home’s windows, beckoning me to come in out of the darkness and the cold and reconnect with loved ones.

Light is full of symbolism: life, energy, warmth, love, security, peace, goodness and truth. And, ultimately, God, wh is all of the above.

In a special way right now, during this season of Advent, God is calling us “out of darkness int His marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9). It’s the best invitation we can ever receive.

To answer God’s call to be people of light, we need to put Him front and centre in our life. We can do this by setting aside quiet time for reflection at the end of the day; reading Scripture and other spiritual materials and meditating on them; being still and “listening to His voice in the depths of our hearts” (Blessed Mother Teresa); regularly receiving the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation; and going on a spiritual retreat from time to time.

Counting our blessings each day is another good spiritual exercise, because learning to be content with what we have helps curb selfishness, the root of all sin.

In addition, we can use an Advent wreath as part of our family’s Christmas preparations, to serve as a tangible reminder that God is light and is calling us out of the darkness of sin.

God is als calling us to spread His light. It is our mission here on Earth to share Christ’s message of love, hope, peace and forgiveness in order to build God’s kingdom. The following are some suggestions for accomplishing this:

  • Spend quality time with the people you care about, giving them your full attention.
  • Talk less, listen more and show empathy.
  • Be generous with praise and encouragement.
  • Smile often, including at strangers.
  • Look for the good in people and situations. Give others the benefit of the doubt.
  • Role model courteous behaviours — such as holding doors open for others — and praise your kids when they do likewise.
  • Offer a senior parishioner a ride home from church.
  • Donate possessions you don’t need to a charity.
  • Support your parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society.
  • Watch for opportunities to show hospitality — to a new neighbour or a new family at church, for instance — and encourage your children to do the same, with a new student in their class, for example.
  • Volunteer in your community.
  • Help out people around you — family members, friends, neighbours, co-workers or fellow parishioners — wh are going through a difficult time.
  • Keep a jar filled with special intentions on your kitchen table, and include these needs in your mealtime prayer.
  • Publicize your faith in your daily life. Wear a crucifix, post a Scripture verse above your desk, talk about your parish community and let people know when you are praying for them.

And here are some special ways to spread the light of Christ during Advent:

  • Reach out to a relative or friend from whom you’ve become separated due to a disagreement, geographic distance or just plain busyness.
  • Be a “Christmas angel,” anonymously helping out a person in need — perhaps someone wh is grieving, or ill, or in financial difficulty.
  • Take your kids grocery shopping, fill a bag of favourite Christmas foods and deliver it to a community food cupboard.
  • Organize a food, toy or clothing collection at school.
  • Help out at a food bank or charitable Christmas store.
  • Visit residents of a nursing home.
  • Take advantage of cards and gifts available from charitable organizations that seek to improve the lives of disadvantaged people.

Last, but not least, wish others a Merry Christmas in the coming weeks.

(Petsche is a Contributing Editor, The Catholic Register.)

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