A case in point is that of King Herod and the Wise Men. Both looked at the same sky. Herod could see only the blackness; the Wise Men saw the Star. Herod saw in the birth of the Child only a threat; the Wise Men saw hope.
Different ways of seeing were present among us during this just finished Christmas season (of course, the Christmas season is never finished). The immature and unknowing journeyed through the season seemingly unaware or unheeding of the existence of darkness. For others, the presence of the darkness threatened to block out all light and overwhelm. For many the dominant mood of Christmas was grief as they remembered loved ones taken by death. Others most felt the weight of families broken by divorce. Soldiers felt the separation of distance, prisoners the separation of bars and crimes.
Of course, our "sky" contains both darkness and light. The question is: Upon which shall we focus? Shall we focus on the darkness or the Star? Shall we view life and the world through the eyes of despair or the eyes of hope?
I, for one, choose the eyes of hope. I embrace the words of Ann Weems: "The Christmas spirit is that hope which tenaciously clings to the hearts of the faithful and announces in the face of any Herod the world can produce and all the inn doors slammed in our faces and all the dark nights of our souls that with God all things are possible, that even now unto us a Child is born."
©1998 C. David Hess