Sunday, December 23, 2012 1 comments

The People that Walked in Darkness

A Snowstorm Epiphany

We knew it was coming. For a week or so there were growing murmurs in the local news. Some were getting frantic, some giddy, and some were skeptical. However, any skepticism was dismissed when late Wednesday night it came. With all the gusto projected, a blizzard like this area hasn’t seen since 1996 came through, leaving behind a thick, silky, sparkling white coverlet for the leaf-barren trees and dormant grasses.

With a beautiful flurry it came, but it left some with piercing silence. No Christmas music playing on the radio. No clicking computer keys making note of final holiday preparations. No furnace warding off the chill of dropping temperatures. No power.

We were some of those left with that silence. At first you imagine it won’t last long – maybe a couple more hours without electricity, but surely the power company will get this straightened out soon. But then, morning passes … afternoon slips by … the evening whispers a quiet goodbye … and the darkness of night settles in. It makes itself at home, not just caressing corners, but covering whole rooms with its deep hued fingers. It spreads, starting at the back of each room then creeping up until it touches the window pane, and pushes out the last bit of afterglow, leaving everything black. Dark. Still.  

Hours into the darkness, the words of Isaiah flashed through my mind, and echoed for hours more: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.” I’ve heard those words many times. For almost a year I would go to sleep listening to Handel’s Messiah, so when I think those words, I think them in song. But it was in a moment as I sat in the darkness that this hit me in a way I’m sure I can’t express: I’m part of that people. I lived in this darkness. The whole world sat it that darkness. This house was fractal representation of this world for a night. It was dark, yet because it was gradual in coming, our eyes adjusted. We could walk in the darkness, and, at moments, could even forget how dark it was. Yet there remained in each of us a longing for the light; a small turmoil and restlessness that groaned inside, eager for the dawn. 

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. (Isaiah 9:2) 

After nearly 36 hours, our power returned. Lights came on, music played, and warmth poured in from the vents again.  

But it was much longer that this whole world waited in darkness. And yet, the moment its Light came, the Darkness knew it had been dealt a death blow.  

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)

Indeed, we have seen a Great Light. The Light of all men. The Darkness cannot comprehend it, and it will surely never overcome it.

May your Christmas be gloriously joyful as you rejoice in the undying Light that shines on all men. 

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. (John 1:4-5, 9)

Isaiah 9:2