Christmas Eve & Christmas Day: The Light Shines

By Jan Richardson

Image: And the Darkness Did Not Overcome It © Jan Richardson

Lectionary readings for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
The lectionary offers a constellation of readings for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, which you can find here. At The Advent Door, our focus across the years has been on the readings from Isaiah 9, Luke, and John, and these are listed below.

Isaiah 9.2-7; Luke 2.1-14 (15-20); John 1.1-14


John pares away the Christmas story to its essence:
The Word. Light. Life. Dwelling among us. In the flesh.
Glory and grace and truth.

—from Christmas Day: How the Light Comes
The Advent Door, December 2011

Advent has taken us on an extraordinary journey through the stories and images this season offers us. Apocalypse and anticipation, wilderness and way-makers, rejoicing and ruin-raising, angels and annunciations and more: these days have been thick with wonders.

By the time Christmas Eve and Christmas Day arrive, it all comes down to this: God has come to us, has taken flesh in this world, has arrived as the light for which we have longed.

No matter how shadowed our road may have become, no matter how perilous or lonely or long, that is cause for celebration.

It has been—well, shall we say illuminating?—to me to retrace the path of that light as I’ve gathered together the reflections I have offered here for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day over the past decade. Particularly as I have followed the line of that luminous path through and beyond Gary’s death, I have had cause to remember how persistent, how stubborn, how full of grace that light is. How it accompanies us even when we cannot see it. How it begins in the beating of our heart, in the marrow of our bones, long before we can perceive it.

I have gathered up these Christmas Eve and Christmas Day reflections here for you. I offer them with blessings, with gratitude, and with prayers that Christ our Light will meet us in these days. O my friends, Merry Christmas!

Isaiah 9.2-7

Christmas Eve: Light Has Shined
Christmas Eve: Longing for Light

Luke 2.1-14 (15-20)

Christmas Eve: A Circle of Quiet
Where the Foreign Meets the Familiar
Door 24: The Secret Room

John 1.1-14

Christmas Day: What Fire Comes to Sing in You
Christmas Day: Where the Light Begins
Christmas Day: Shines in the Darkness
Christmas Day: How the Light Comes
Christmas Day: An Illuminated Joy
Christmas Day: Witness of That Light
Tangled Up in You
Door 25: The Book of Beginnings

BLESSING FOR THE LONGEST NIGHT: A few years ago, I created a blessing for the Winter Solstice. I’ve loved hearing from folks who use it in their Longest Night/Blue Christmas services or share it with friends. To visit this blessing, click this image or the title below:

Winter Solstice: Blessing for the Longest Night

Using Jan’s artwork
To use the image “And the Darkness Did Not Overcome It,” please visit this page at Your use of helps make the ministry of The Advent Door possible. During Advent, subscribe to Jan Richardson Images and receive unlimited digital downloads for use in worship for only $125 per year (regularly $165). Click here to subscribe.

Using Jan’s words
For worship services and related settings, you are welcome to use Jan’s blessings or other words from this blog without requesting permission. All that’s needed is to acknowledge the source. Please include this info in a credit line: “© Jan Richardson.” For other uses, visit Copyright Permissions.

6 Responses to “Christmas Eve & Christmas Day: The Light Shines”

  1. Joan Proudman Says:

    I love your work, your words, your poems, your art….everything is so soothing and beautiful.
    Thank you.

  2. sandy hay Says:

    Jan, Thank you so much for sharing Gary’s music with us. I sit still in front of my computer, close my eyes and listen. I can’t describe the effects of this but it’s wonderful. 🙂

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Sandy, thank you so much. It’s wonderful to know you’re listening to Gary’s music! Sending much gratitude and many blessings for you as Christmas draws close.

  3. Michelle Says:

    So beautiful and true. Thank you for these words.
    (As I am stuck home with the flu, as the sun goes down, and my bedroom darkens…)
    Thank you.

    • Jan Richardson Says:

      Michelle, thank you! I’m so sorry you have been stuck at home with the flu. Sending healing blessings for you and hoping you feel better very soon! Peace to you this Christmas and always.

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