An Angel of Light

by Araceli (Sally) Cardenas

by Araceli (Sally) Cardenas

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.

(Matthew 2:9–11 ESV)

Christmas Day had arrived, and I was heading out the door to join my local choir for our morning Mass. The alert tone on my phone kept going off as greetings were popping up. I scrolled to see who the messages were coming from when I spotted one from my father-in-law, Giulio. Although receiving a message from him was nothing new, this year would be different. For the first time, he was celebrating the special day without my beloved mother-in-love, his bride for more than sixty years, Antonietta. Her presence always filled the day with love, laughter, gifts, and an Italian feast of sweets and pasta no one could resist.

I put down my keys and hurried back to the kitchen table to see what he had sent the family so early in the morning. On my screen, a delicate angel appeared with a video icon ready to be played. I clicked on it expecting to read the classic Italian Christmas greeting, “Buon Natale,” but instead, this tiny angel was on a mission to decorate a Christmas tree to the sound of traditional choir music. I followed the angel as it lit up the first ornament, then the next, and every candle in between the beaded garland. Each ornament represented the birth of Jesus, starting with the shepherds, then the wise men, leading up to baby Jesus laying in the manger with Mary and Joseph. Like the wise men, I marveled at the star that accompanied each scene. It was a reminder of this truth: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, ‘God with us’).” (Matthew 1:23 ESV)

Yes, “God is with us.” I whispered this truth as I watched the whimsical angel swiftly make its way up lighting up the entire tree before settling at the very top of it. I held on to my phone, captivated by this angel, replaying the video knowing Giulio had given each one of us a gift that day in spite of his grieving. His greeting, as short as it might’ve been, carried with it a promise that not only was God with us but He comforts us in all our afflictions. He is with us in our sorrow. He is with us in our battles. He is with us when we bid farewell to those we dearly love and treasure. He is with us when we struggle to celebrate a day filled with countless memories and tradition.

The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ encourages us to spread hope and light to a hurting world. It is His light that shines in the darkness when we’re tempted to give up on life. He is the only one with the power to comfort each one of us on Christmas Day and every day that follows.

Truth For Today

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5 ESV)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3–4 ESV)

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