The time is here. Dark December days, darker nights, brightened by the lights of the holidays. Candles on the menorah, lit each evening of Hanukah. And Christmas lights, twinkling in the village trees, on doorways and bushes, along rooftops dressed as icicles. Christmas trees are aglow in yards and in living rooms, visible through windows, shining out into the night.

It’s about more than lights, of course. The season comes calling each year, asking for hearts to be open, charity to be given, judgment to be held off, simple human kindness to be shared.

More than 2,000 years ago, a child was born who grew to teach the world a different way. Honor not the mighty but the meek. Share with the poor. Turn the other cheek.

It was a strange message — revolutionary, really — in an ancient world where wealth, pride and power had always ruled, and been worshiped in the names and faces of gods more often vainglorious and vengeful than forgiving.

In the centuries since, progress has been slow. Goodness struggles, as always, against power. People are weak. Sometimes they can be ruled by fear. Violence may seem a solution.

The lessons are still taught. People hear, and the simple goodness of the great truths rings in their hearts. They celebrate the birth of the child who became the teacher who showed all the world a better way to live — share, give, greet strangers with welcome, the different with understanding.

And even amid all the darkness that, still, can shroud the world, good people find their way. They follow a bright, eternal light.