Radiant Light --the Birth of Our Lord
The Divine Liturgy in the Maronite tradition often mentions the title “Mary, Mother of the Light.” The opening prayer of the liturgy used to mention it every day. This title is rich in theological and spiritual significance and is indeed one of the treasures of the Maronite Church.
The image of light conveys a sense of joy, festivity, and life. Religion uses the image of light to express the notion of purity and the presence of God. Since light is the element which is proper to the divine Being, from ancient times the pagans adored the sun. At the end of December, the pagans celebrated a feast dedicated to the “Unconquerable Sun.” In fact, on December 21st the nights, which had been becoming longer and longer, begin to shorten. The ancients celebrated this conquest of the light over the darkness.
When Constantine granted freedom for Christians to worship publicly, it was appropriate to replace the celebration of the Unconquerable Sun, with the Feast of the New Sun of the world, to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Light of the world (John 3:19).
The image of light is found throughout salvation history. The Aramaic Fathers of the Antiochene tradition teach us that creation is a preparation for the incarnation of the Son of God. All was created by the Father, through the Son.
Scripture tells us that the first thing that was created is the sun: it is the heavenly body which gives forth light, warmth and life itself.
The sun is the image of the Son of God because Christ himself is that light which comes from heaven. As a ray of light coming through a cloud, he appeared from the Virgin Mary.
…Just at the shepherds and Magi saw and followed the light, we who have seen the Light must follow. Jesus told us, “Walk while you have the light” (John 2:19; 5:34; 12:35-36). This feast of the Birth of Our Lord, the Light of the world, should be an incentive for us to be the light of the world (Mt 5:14)….
(Taken from the Prayer of the Faithful Synaxarion for Christmas.)