Almighty God, You have poured into our hearts the true Light of your incarnate Word. Grant that this Light may shine forth in our lives; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
He was a farmer, the years spent outside on tractors and in fields had weathered his face to the point where you might say it had a great deal of character. I remember being in his garage and shop, it was spotless, everything was where it was supposed to be. He was a careful man who always took care in what he did. He had asked if I could come by and help him bale some hay. He would pay me. We did not talk about how much. I knew it would be fair. It was.
The best part of the day with him was always lunch. We took a break in the middle of the work and his wife prepared something to eat and a great bucket of iced tea. He had a bit of a drawl, it was Missouri, so speaking too quickly could work up a sweat on a hot summer day. When resting under the big oak tree in his front yard, languid was the order of the day. There was always time under that tree to talk for a few minutes. He always wanted to know about me. His eyes were sharp blue, and his smile was genuine and ready. He listened. We pray in this prayer that God’s light would shine forth in our lives. There are many people through whom God has shone his light into my life. This man was one. He took the time to care about a teen-aged kid’s life, what he was doing, where he was heading, and what he thought. We have celebrated the birth of Jesus, but I think we also need to celebrate the childhood and adolescence of Jesus. He says if you give a cup of cold water to a child in his name, you have given it to Him. If you listen to a young person for a few minutes, get to know him or her, care, and be a gentle adult in their lives, you have given it to Him. Jesus too was a young man. God shine through us today!