The light shines in the darkness.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Charles Dickens wrote these famous words in 1859 as the opening to his novel A Tale of Two Cities, but they seem to encompass many people’s reflections on the year 2021. The challenges we have faced in managing a global pandemic have probably felt like “the worst of times,” while the joy of reconnecting after so many months of lockdowns and quarantines may feel like the best of times.

Great literature notwithstanding, today’s Gospel reading gives us a different perspective as we reflect on the past year: John’s hope-filled statement that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). John insists that even in our darkest times, God will continue to shine his light and his goodness on us. He is the one constant we can always rely on in all the ups and downs of life.

On this last day of the year, try to spend some extra time reflecting on the constancy of God’s love and care for you and your loved ones. Look back and try to find the times that God’s light has guided you this past year. Or look around you right now and look for signs that he is still guiding you through the good times and the not-so-good times. Look at how God’s great mercy and love have sustained you during every challenge you faced this year. Don’t worry if there are some situations in which you can’t yet see his loving hand. Over time and with the blessings of hindsight, you will—and you will find comfort and encouragement when you do.

This upcoming year will surely have its share of joys and trials. None of us can tell what’s waiting for us. But if you go into the year with trust in God’s constancy, you’ll be a lot more confident that your heavenly Father will carry you as often as you need him to. Whether you face the worst of times, the best of times, or a combination of both, know that you will never have to face it alone. Jesus, the light of the world, will be with you.

“Thank you, Lord, that your light continues to shine. Jesus, deepen my trust in you in the coming year.”

1 John 2:18-21
Psalm 96:1-2, 11-13
John 1:1-18


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