Night falls. Now, although the sun set half an hour ago, its lingering rays still illumine the evening sky.
Soon it will be dark but for a little while, the view from my study window remains one of calm beauty. Yesterday it rained, heavily, and even at mid-day we needed lights on. Today, out and about, I wondered at the transformation. Quiet, peaceful, mild, beautiful; the countryside took on a completely different outlook.
As I type, the Christmas decorations are still lit. A week ago we celebrated Jesus’ birth; remembered once more Isaiah’s words of hope, The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light (Isaiah 9:2) This weekend, we will remember the coming of the Magi to pay homage; another moment of celebration. In between, we learnt that Herod’s response would be murderous; Jesus and his family became refugees, others less fortunate were murdered. Darkness shall cover the earth, thick darkness the peoples (Isaiah 60:2).
Darkness and light; unhappy neighbours in constant tension. Night has fallen and now from my window I can see nothing. Stars have yet to appear, darkness reigns. Tomorrow, storms may return, but sufficient unto the day ….. We have enjoyed the beauty of today and that is enough for today. The truth is, we need day and night, sun and rain, cold and heat if we are to survive, let alone prosper. Sometimes it is the most painful experience that spurs the strongest growth; just as the cross will open up the gate to life immortal.
The prevailing story of the last three years has contained more darkness than light. Global warming, Covid, conflict, poverty; just a few of the storm clouds that darken our days. Entering 2023, it is easy to see much of the same ahead, just as yesterday’s weather did not bode well for today. Today, instead of the news I have read the beauty of the countryside. I am reminded once more that the heavens are telling the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. …. Their sound has gone out into all the lands (Psalm 19:1,4). Above all, as we go forward into another year, remember: The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it (John 1:5).
Rev Philip Payne
The Notice Sheet for 8th January can be found here