Imagine the dark nights of over two thousand years ago when the whole world was largely lit only by oil lamp and fire. To borrow from Virginia Woolf,
“The brilliant amorous day was divided as sheerly from the night as land from water. Sunsets were redder and more intense; dawns were whiter and more auroral. Of our crepuscular half-lights and lingering twilights they knew nothing. … The sun blazed or there was darkness.”
There are only a dwindling number of places left on earth today where this kind of darkness at night can still be experienced. Places far removed from manmade air and light pollution.
The acute darkness above was very much a reflection of the darkness beneath the sky where humanity dwelt in the time just before Christ. We walked in spiritual darkness and literal darkness. But the love of God saw fit to rend the darkness in the night sky with a brilliant star in the East and for humanity the birth of an infant born in Bethlehem amidst the spartan surroundings of his manger.
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” —Isaiah 9:2 (NIV)
“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” —John 1:4 (NIV)
In our present day, as we sojourn through the darkening days of December and seem to live in a world of avowedly increasing darkness of human behavior, let’s take time to meditate on there being a much darker time in human history. Take this moment to truly thank God for the gift of Christ his son: The Light of the World. Christ is our illumination on the path to salvation for our time here on Earth. Without him it would be impossible. We should also thank God humbly remembering that,
“He has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
—2 Timothy 1:9-10 (NIV)
“Still from earth to God eternal
sacrifice of praise be done,
high above all praises praising
for the gift of Christ his Son.
Christ doth call
one and all:
ye who follow shall not fall.”
—Robert Seymour Bridges; Hymn 665, Hymnbook 1982