What an amazing combination of life and death this week has been! Once again this year, I find myself a bit jarred by the contrasting feasts of the Church. It seems we just begin to celebrate the mystery of Christ’s birth and we’re abruptly drawn into the feasts of Stephen, the Holy Innocents and Thomas Becket. A part of me is crying, “Just let me enjoy the peace and joy of Christmas!”
Reflecting on this reality this morning, I am reminded of a basic art principle I learned in my early days of teaching: the darker the color of a bulletin board’s background, the more brilliant the colors of the letters and pictures appeared. I quickly learned that the most vibrant bulletin boards often had a black background!
Perhaps it takes these feasts of the Church that highlight death and sacrifice to help me truly see the gift of life and appreciate its radiant beauty. Joy that comes easily doesn’t seem to hold the same depth and meaning as that which comes at a price. Sometimes it just takes a while for me to appreciate the darkness that serves to highlight the light!