When I was a kid, we always listened to the same Christmas music; we waited for it, with excitement. One of them was the Michael W. Smith Christmas album. W. Smith rocked the eighties and nineties contemporary Christian music scene with his shaggy hair and synthesizers, but the Christmas album was a bit different; a little more “high art,” you might say. My favorite song as a child was called “To the Spanudes,” except, not really. That’s just what I thought the vocalists were singing. In actuality, the operatic accompaniment to Michael W. Smith’s Christmas album, involved chanting Latin – lux venit – which means “the light comes.”
I kind of like that I misheard it first, made up my own definition. Because that’s how it works with the light of Christ, too. We hear it, but we hear it wrong; we see it, but it’s too dim to make it out. And that’s the thing about uncertainty; it requires faith.
In Franco Zeffirelli’s epic miniseries “Jesus of Nazareth,” the light comes to Mary to tell her the news. I love the director’s depiction. To Zeffirelli, it wasn’t a winged being in a satin evening gown with a kind face. Just a bright light, hovering near the girl’s window with some news for only her ears to hear.
The light comes. We may miss it, or, better yet, totally hear it but doubt it. We might have to circle back around to our recollection of it and trust it. But the light comes. The light of Christ has come to the world and it wants to get our attention. There will be distractions. Sometimes, from the messengers of light themselves. But can we see it, however dim?