The Christmas Star on the top of my tree reminds me of the Light of the world who in human form pierced the darkness and relative quiet of a stable so long ago. The tiny Light grew and illuminated the hearts of those around Him except those who would not receive Him. Incredibly two thousand years ago there were those who preferred to walk in darkness just as there are in today’s world.
Just as the Star lit the way to Bethlehem for the wise men guiding them on their journey, so Jesus lights the way for our journeys. In His own words He tells us that “He is the Way, the Truth and the Life”. (John 14:6) He is The Light that “shines in the darkness and the darkness has not (nor will it ever) overcome it”.
Darkness comes in different forms. Illness, loss, depression, war, hardship, hunger and thirst are a few examples. Imagine being lost alone in the dark. Terrifying right? But there is no darkness we can name, or think of, or experience that cannot be illuminated by the One Light of God. Some translations say the darkness cannot understand this Light and happily the darkness can never put it out. (John 1:5) I am grateful not to have to live in such Light-less hopelessness.
Can you see it?
Often we can’t see God’s Light until we have the 20/20 vision afforded by hind sight and reflection. Then we may be able to see the “AH! There – The light was there all along” moments. There is a light that shines steadfastly in the deepest darkness, and there is hope and peace beyond all human expectation and understanding in believing in God. I cannot answer the question no one can answer, the big “why” question; rather I want to suggest that we don’t even have to ask that question. It just does not matter. There are things in this life we will never understand no matter how intelligent or resourceful we are; we just have to accept things on faith in God alone. Once we have believed and acknowledged our need for God, we can begin to find the “peace that passes understanding” even in the hardest trial. And learn the lessons – because “pain is never pointless”.
If we have faith in God, then we also have the Light for this life to help us with whatever darkness we encounter. Whatever form darkness takes in our lives, we may be assured that the Light of Christ will penetrate it bringing grace and showing the way through. Will it be an unmistakable shaft of Light? Or a pin prick sized spot that grows slowly until all is illuminated? Yes to both. Sometimes we are graced with “Ah-ha! Moments” when all seems as clear as that shaft of Light. Other times the darkness is penetrated by a smaller Light, but a Light that grows and steadily warms the heart, clears the vision and points out the path.
I am often reminded of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs as I reflect on Scripture. Today I am reminded of two very different songs, from two distinctive genres. The first is an old hymn text written by John Henry Sammis with music by Daniel Brink Towner in 1887.
|When we walk with the Lord In the light of His Word, What a glory He sheds on our way; While we do His good will, He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey.
||Trust and obey, For there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.
The full lyrics may be found at this link: https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/582
And the other piece was recorded by country music artist Emmylou Harris, with harmonic vocals provided by Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt. It was recorded by Warner Brothers in 1979 but has been re-recorded several times by other artists.
Listen to the full piece here: http://www.metrolyrics.com/beautiful-star-of-bethlehem-lyrics-emmylou-harris.html
Oh, beautiful star of Bethlehem Shining afar through shadows dim
Giving the light for those who long have gone
Guiding the wise men on their way Unto the place where Jesus lay
Oh, beautiful star of Bethlehem, shine on
May the Light that brings life grow in your heart today, illuminating new corners of your life with the One True Light. The Light came into the world – to its very own people – but they did not receive it. But to those that did (and those that will today and tomorrow) the Light became the Light of the world. John 1:1-18.