…He makes His passage into mortal life at a time in which the darkness was beginning to fail, and the vast expanse of night to fade away before the exceeding brightness of the light. For the death of sin had brought an end of wickedness which from henceforth tends to nothing by reason of the presence of the true light which has illuminated the whole world…
Gregory of Nyssa

When we come face to face with wickedness it can seem overwhelming, as though it carries all before it. The good in life seems more vulnerable, and subject to being undermined by human malice.

But perhaps we are not seeing things as they are. If once evil was dominant, now everything is changed. From now on wickedness tends to nothing. This is not just wishful thinking. It is another aspect of how reality is actually better than we have yet realized.

It’s not that there isn’t wickedness anymore; that much is clear from experience. Wickedness will remain with us, and sometimes within us, and may even seem to carry the day. But nonetheless wickedness—yes, even horrible wickedness—has lost its dominating power in human life. It has been caught up into something much greater than it.

Once upon a time a lovely and innocent couple, bent on doing nothing but good, were forced to have their child in very unfitting circumstances. Within a couple of years a mass murder of innocents followed in this birth’s wake.

But starting then, and from henceforth, wickedness tends to nothing. Every form of wickedness will be an occasion for the further manifestation of a goodness that so often confounds and confuses us.

What an amazing notion. Can things really be so astoundingly transformed; and so good? It seems unbelievable. But then again there are a number of things that seem unbelievable, that nonetheless I believe. And I try to build my life upon.

May your Christmas be merry beyond what you have expected. May it be an occasion for all of us to see and experience a little more of a bedrock truth: there is no darkness that the light cannot dispel and transform.

Merry, merry Christmas.

St. Gregory of Nyssa (335-394) was a major early Christian bishop and theologian in Cappadocia, a district in present day Turkey.

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