Joy in the Morning; Separating Light from Darkness

Do you ever lie awake at night just waiting for the morning to come?  And it seems to take forever?  The morning brings light.  It takes away the darkness and shadows.  The morning brings renewal, a fresh start.  But sometimes the night seems long. The darkness seems eternal.  Will the sun ever shine again?  Will the sun really come out tomorrow, as orphan Annie sings?

David reminds us in his Psalm:

Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:5

The night is dark.  And sometimes it sneaks up on us.    And sometimes it lasts longer than we like.  It tarries. It lingers.  It waits.  But God created light from darkness.  And His light brings joy.  There is no darkness that He cannot shine through.  From the beginning, God has created light where there was darkness:

In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth—  and the earth was without form or shape, with darkness over the abyss and a mighty wind sweeping over the waters—Then God said: Let there be light, and there was light.  God saw that the light was good. God then separated the light from the darkness.

Genesis 1:1-4

We do not have the power to create light, but we can find it.  We tarry in darkness, searching for the light, hoping for the light.  And sometimes we forget that the light is right there in front of us.  Because we struggled to see it on our own, God sent us Jesus.  Peter reminds us of this:

Therefore, I will always remind you of these things, even though you already know them and are established in the truth you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this “tent,” to stir you up by a reminder, since I know that I will soon have to put it aside, as indeed our Lord Jesus Christ has shown me.  I shall also make every effort to enable you always to remember these things after my departure.

We did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.  For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory, “This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”  We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.  Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God.

2 Peter 1:12-21

God sent us Jesus — to be our guiding light in the darkness.  He is our lamp in the dark world “until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”  We do well to be attentive to Him.  No matter how dark the place is, no matter how dark or long the night, the day will dawn.  The day will dawn.  Jesus will be our light until it does, until we fully allow the morning star, God’s light and love to rise in our heart.

Jesus,

You are my light!  I do not want to tarry in the darkness.  Help me make it to the dawn.  Help the morning star rise in my heart.  I want you to fill my heart and my life, with your light and love.  You separate light from darkness.  Help separate me from the darkness.

 

Christmas Light

It is 4 days until Christmas.  Christmas trees are lit and decorated.  Houses are outlined in Christmas lights.  The shopping malls are bustling and promising to leave the lights on later than usual  (some stores are leaving the lights on for 24 hours a day until Christmas eve).  Do we know how to celebrate the Light of the World or what!?

Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me.  I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.  And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.  Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak.  And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”

John 12:44-50

More than 2000 years ago Jesus came into the world. He came as light.  Not an LED light that flashes and changes colors.  Not a spotlight that produces stars or snowflakes on an otherwise ordinary house wall.  But LIGHT, so that everyone who believes in Him might not remain in darkness.

There is a lot of darkness in the world.  Active shooters, drivers who plow through crowds, hate and fear.  And we all experience personal darkness.  Sometimes more often than we would like.   Hate, fear, depression and anxiety — darkness.  If you watch the news, it feels like the darkness in our world is increasing.  Perhaps there is a correlation between the increased darkness around us and the way that our society seems to push God out of the way.  Perhaps.

Jesus came to save the world.  To save us from our own darkness.  Whoever believes in Him, might not remain in darkness.  Is it really that easy?   I have noticed that when I read the Bible, when I spend time praying or talking to God, I feel lighter.  I feel like the shadows of the world disappear and become more manageable.  Maybe it is that easy.

This Christmas celebrate the light.  When you look at the lights on the trees or the houses, remember that the Light of the World came to the earth to take away our darkness.  Go toward the light.  Listen to His word.  Believe.

Jesus,

You are my light!  You remove darkness around me.  Thank you for coming into the world.  Thank you for loving me.  I love you!  Help me to understand your word and to follow you.

Light will break the darkness

Life is hard.  Pain and suffering surrounds us.  It is impossible to avoid.  In Ephesians, Paul provides us with Rules for the New Life:

Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger, and do not leave room for the devil.

The thief must no longer steal, but rather labor, doing honest work with his [own] hands, so that he may have something to share with one in need.

No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear.

And do not grieve the holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption.

All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice.

[And] be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

Ephesians 4:25-32

These are not easy rules.  But even in these rules, there is recognition that we will be angry.  Life sometimes stinks.  We will be angry.  But Paul warns do not let the sun set on your anger, do not leave room for the devil.  Be angry.  But reconcile with God.  Don’t go to bed angry.  Anger creates weakness; it creates cracks for the devil to infiltrate.  Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit.  We are sealed with God’s Spirit.  We cannot rid ourselves of Him, no matter how hard we may sometimes try.

So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.  Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is fitting among holy ones, no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place, but instead, thanksgiving.  Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.  So do not be associated with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.  Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.  Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, or it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore, it says:

“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

Ephesians 5:1-14

We have all been darkness.  We have all been in darkness.  God calls us to the light.  This life is temporary.  We have a short time to live and love on earth.  We have a short time to fight off the devil and the pain and suffering that exploits our weakness.  This will pass.  Love.  Be thankful.  Expose the darkness — do not hide it away.  Be angry, but do not dwell on the anger.  Bring it back to God.  Live in the light — God’s light.  Jesus has conquered death — we just have to conquer this short life on earth.

Lord,

I do not always understand your ways.  I am sometimes quick to anger.  Forgive me for my weakness.  Forgive me for my doubt when things do not go my way.  I want to live in your light.  I want to live like Christ.  Help me to love more freely.  Help me to reconcile with you when I fail.  It is easy to have faith when things go well.  Keep my faith strong when things go wrong.