I light the “Hope” or “Prophecy” Candle, and he reads from Isaiah 9.
And we come to darkness. People groping their way through it. People dwelling under a great death shadow. Already in verse 2.
And yet…“The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.” ~
Later, gathered for worship, we’re looking at Psalm 112.
Darkness sweeps in again—in verse 4. The “upright” are enduring it here.
But again the light dawns:“Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness…”
The upright can see it, stark against black.
I think of Ebenezer. That round rock I wrote about last week that reminds us of how “the LORD has helped us this far.”
We’d moved that rock into the house for Thanksgiving Day, first to the cellar stairs to thaw and remove the clinging dirt and wash the thing clean, then to the dining room, to place on that old mat amid fake grass. After dinner he read 1 Samuel 7, and we talked about remembering the times of God’s help and a rock of remembrance as memory booster. And those who made it to dinner through stormy weather chose Ebenezer stones to take home and be reminded, too (although the youngest named hers “Erik.”)
Then I think how, before that Thanks day, reading this year’s journals to ferret out my personal remembrances of His help, what I’d discovered was…
Darkness. Tears. Perplexity. Sorrowful disappointment. Here. There. Short and passing black nights of it, and long stretches requiring brave walking through.
And it was in those dark places that the working of God glowed obvious.
It occurred to me this has been the pattern through my life. It was in times of sadness or hardness, of uncertainty or (especially) utter helplessness, that I saw “the light,” saw the God of all good gifts clearly at work.
When I lit that candle of Hope, he asked me to turn down the other, the artificial, lights. The candle’s glow just didn’t show in all that incandescence. But with all the other light dimmed down, its flicker flamed dramatic.
So. Here’s cause for thanking God not only for His gift of light, but also for the times of darkness that make us notice it, when otherwise we might pass by, entirely unaware.“Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness” -Psalm 112:4