Recently during the Christmas season when I traveled from Kentucky to North Carolina, I started driving early in the morning while it was still dark. I departed at 4:30 a.m. The sky was pitch dark and for many miles it appeared that the light was a long time coming and yet somehow I knew, trusted and hoped that it would come. Sure enough, just when the darkness seemed like it would last forever a tiny sliver of dawn's light pierced though the thick darkness of the night.
The prophetic words of Martin King, Jr. rang true, "No midnight can last forever." The prophet Isaiah knew this centuries earlier when he wrote: "Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn." -Isaiah 60:1-3.
In the midst of a world that often appears overwhelmed by darkness the splendor of God's epiphany breaks out in the brilliant glory of redemption that shines in the face of a child, the very embodiment of "Emmanuel, God with us," "the Word made flesh." Out of darkness, into the light of the stable. Therefore, we keep searching, hoping, and living into the truth that there is a light that overcomes all darkness.
Another epiphany came to me on mornings when my little granddaughter Ava Priscilla would wake early in the morning with squeals of delight letting everybody know it was morning. Babies have a way of doing that whether we are ready or not.
I pray the piercing cry of the Christ child will wake us from our slumber, "arise and shine for your light has come." "Arise shine!" This is the day of new beginnings, the day of salvation. "Arise shine!" This is the day to love and do justice and walk humbly with God, bringing light into the dark corner of the world. "Arise shine!" This is not the time for sleeping; there is glory to be seen, love to be shared, justice, and hope to be proclaimed. In our spiritual wakefulness I pray that each of us bear witness to the Word that has become flesh,speaking light against all darkness, evil, and hatred. I pray that we would daily walk as children of the light singing and living into the words of the hymn "I want to walk as a child of the light." "I want to walk as a child of the light. I want to follow Jesus......the star of my life is Jesus. In him there is no darkness at all the night and day are both the same." Words & Music by Kathleen Thomas
As we approach a New Year let us do so with a commitment to walk as a child of the light. Let us live, work, and walk as if the light, which is Jesus Christ, has broken into our darkness. Therefore, we, nor the world, can ever be the same again. "Nations shall come to your light, and Kings to the brightness of your dawn." -Isaiah 60:3.
How many dawns will I see in my lifetime
When did I start counting? What of dawn's
memory will chase away the darkness?
In between peace, not yet morning, still not
night. One glimpse, brief epiphany and
nothing is ever the same again.
The darkness returns, but the moment of
wonder stays in my soul a strong hope
against coming darkness.
By Leonard Fairley
Bishop Leonard E. Fairley
Resident Bishop, Louisville Area