Christmas 2015 with the Little Sisters - Life was the light and the light shines in the darkness!

That is what we are given to see and to contemplate. These words are striking at this time when darkness seems to have stolen the place of light.

The darkness: we can perceive it at every moment. It often touches us directly when the media show us streams of displaced people fleeing war, famine, insecurity and persecutions of all kinds – when those migrants arrive at the gates of Europe, are drowned at sea, or die of exhaustion or cold in Eastern Europe. This darkness touches us also when political or religious extremists make news headlines, when we see them win over those who are often the most frail in our society and indoctrinate them with violence and xenophobia. The darkness is also the ecological catastrophes in Brazil, off the coasts of Africa, in Asia, Oceania, in the extreme pollution of the cities of China. And there is still so much other darkness that is plunging the Planet, men, women and the whole of humanity into suffering. 
Again, it is said to us: The Light shone in the darkness… the darkness did not accept it. 
Let us dwell for a few moments on our own darkness. It is so easy to "close one’s door", to let bitter or judgemental words escape us, to remain passive, to let jealousy or indifference find a place in us. 
How can we expect the leaders of this world to give up privileges or not to operate egoistically if we ourselves, in daily life, do not carry out this same struggle in ourselves and in our communities? 
And yet we can also say that, from the darkness, light is discovered. Because, it was night when the shepherds at Bethlehem saw the light appear. The Magi, along their uncertain journey, were able to follow the light of the star. And didn’t each one of us come into the light on the day of our birth! 
In the darkness the light marks out its path. It consists of those men and women who, in the midst of the attacks and at the cost of their own life, have the strength to help those who fall close to them; those who leave their house and go to help those who are injured, persons who are contaminated. It is all those who welcome, share their house, their food, their clothing; it is all those who struggle for a planet that has to be safeguarded, an earth to be shared. 
Again, it is said to us: "To all who did accept it (the Light), He gave power to become children of God. "
These children of God are indeed those who fulfil the words of Isaiah: "Lift up your head, watch, pray, stand up…" 
Yes, our God wants us to be on our feet, creators, participating in the sort of beauty and of goodness that He creates each day through us, and with us. 
We can change our outlook: "He looked at him and loved him" to see how each person, in that attitude of solidarity or humanity, is putting into operation what is deepest in herself or himself, the fragment of the image of God that appears in that step of love. Let us not tire of recognising all those little sparks of light that appear in the daily round of our life in community, in the reciprocity of our relations, in attentiveness to one another, and which introduces a climate of kindness and of trust. Let us not tire of recognising those sparks of light when pardon is given, when solitude is eased, when millions of persons walk to save the planet. Then, hope and joy are born again. 
In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Pope invites us to be presenters of the tenderness of God, to be persons of Mercy, that is, responsible for putting into action this promise by God: 
"The Word became flesh." It came to dwell in our humanity, to take fully what is limited, finite, in us so as to open us to the infinite. It came to take us out of what encloses us, like Zachary passing from doubt to faith. He recovered his voice to proclaim his hymn of joy: 
"Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel because He has visited His people"… He showed his goodness, his salvation by the forgiveness of sins… He appeared to those who are in the darkness to guide them into the way of peace. 
God invites us to hope, to patience. God appeared in a child. Light came by the hands of Mary. Like Mary, let us be women of hope and of tenderness, trustworthy women. 
Let us say together again, in this year 2016: 
"God has visited his People."
"Glory to God in the highest and 
Peace on earth for men and women, his beloved ones." cf. Lk 2:14. 
Happy Christmas ! 
With all our sisterly affection, 
Marie-Françoise, Piedad, Eugenia, Mary, Geneviève
General Council
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