The deep darkness of the sky last night only made the myriad of stars more vivid and awe-inspiring. Odd how the darkness necessary to see all those pinpricks of light scattered across the universe is never the focus when we gaze skyward at night. Rather, we stand amazed and spellbound by the beauty of the light, as minute as it seems from our earthly vantage point.
The year that ended in the middle of that starry night was filled with much darkness. We saw it on our news screens, heard it in our voices, felt it grip our hearts, tasted it in our fears. It became the focus, and we missed the stars, the light that makes the darkness lose its power to pinion our hearts and minds.
We just celebrated the incarnation of Jesus, the arrival of God in human form, as a baby no less. But perhaps in all our celebration and tradition and other trappings of the season, we forgot this foreshadowing of the larger story: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.”
Darkness in the world is not a product of modernity.
The miracle in the cradle is only worth celebrating because of the sacrifice on the cross and the defeat of death and darkness by the empty tomb. Jesus declared to his followers, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”
Light inhabits eternity.
There are 525,600 minutes in a year.
Astronomers estimate that the Milky Way Galaxy alone contains about 100 thousand million stars.
So here is my thought: if we can be in awe of the thousands of stars we can see with our naked eye, and focus on them rather than the darkness, is it also possible that we can see the Eternal Light in those 525,600 minutes rather than allow darkness to render them meaningless?
“This is what God the Lord says— the Creator of the heavens (including the billions and billions of stars!), who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: ‘I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you…I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them (the year ahead is certainly unfamiliar), I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”
An invitation for 2016: “Come…let us walk in the light of the Lord.”
Isaiah 9:2; John 12:46; Isaiah 42:5-6,16; Isaiah 2:5
Photo by Mathias Krumbholz