"And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." ~John 1:5
We turn on the television. We go online. We read the newspaper. It seems that tragedy and evil are everywhere we look. People are murdered in the streets. Nations go to war. Children are abused, hungry, and homeless.
We cast our eyes away in anguish. It hurts too much to look. Maybe if we can't see the pain and horror of it all, we can forget that it exists.
But, having once seen, we will always remember.
The knowledge of what we saw and choose to ignore hurts us deeply. If only we had not seen in the first place! We would never know that such evil exists. But we HAVE seen it. We know it is there, marring our world like storm clouds in a sunny sky.
We don't know what to do.
But then a voice speaks within us: "Awaken!" And though we don't want to, we crack open our eyelids and gaze upon the iniquity wrought by our kind. We almost can't bear the sight, so we start to look away again, but at the last second something else catches our eyes.
A glimmer of light. Which, upon closer inspection, is revealed to be many small lights: a congregation collecting food and clothing for the needy. Volunteers working at a soup kitchen downtown. A family welcoming an unloved child into their home. A retired mother babysitting a child for free so that a single mother might have a job to support her family.
A head bowed in prayer.
We are encouraged by these sights. We realize that we, too, can become lights among the shadows. The smallest acts of kindness can create a spark bright enough to light up a room. We can smile and tell someone we love them. We can help our neighbors in need. We can abstain from complaining so that others will not become discouraged. We can hold the hand of a grieving friend. And perhaps most simply of all, we can pray.