961089f929c7f591c54e28cc132f20a3Each time we participate in Vespers or the Presanctified Liturgy, there is a point when a dramatic event takes place. After singing the stichera (or propers) of the day with Psalm 140, the clergy process around the altar and through the iconostasis, similar to the entrance with the Gospel during the Divine Liturgy. After proclaiming “Wisdom! Be attentive!” the people sing the Hymn of the Evening – “O Joyful Light!” – and the altar, the people and the entire church are incensed.

This lighting of the lamps is in sharp contrast to the darkening of the world around us as the sun drops below the horizon and evening comes. Even though the visible sun is slowly waning, we welcome Christ into the world to keep the spiritual light shining in our lives.

We received the light at our baptism and it has grown within us as we discovered the faith. We all have the responsibility to share that light with the world and to make Christ present in the world. The light of Christ that we all carry is manifest or realized by the way we live our life each day. The kindness we share with others around us, those we meet on the street or in the shopping mall, or even those with whom we might contact through e-mail, is the true light of Christ spreading throughout the world. Our behavior demonstrates the fact that we are Christians and that we follow the teachings of our Lord and Savior.

Let us all be more diligent in our daily life to let the light of Christ shine through us into the world just as the the lights shine more brightly in church when we sing “O Joyful Light!”

Reflection Questions

  • How do we let the light of Christ shine in us to others with whom we interact every day?
  • Have we learned to be true Christians and live according to his commandments and teachings?
  • Do we live the Gospel of Jesus Christ each day, or only on Sundays when we come to church?

From Journey Through the Great Fast. Published by Office of Religious Education, Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. November 2001.