I love light — starlight, firelight, sunlight, candlelight … You name it, I love it. I remember evenings as a child gazing at the full moon beside my dad. I remember making a special trip to the beach to see an eclipse of the sun (through a pinhole reflected onto a piece of cardboard). I remember sitting around the table in our mountain cabin, staring into the flame of the kerosene lamp.
We had a Christmas tradition involving lights, too. One night during Christmas season, in those years we lived in Colorado, we would drive into downtown Denver to see the Christmas displays covering the grounds of the city and county buildings (see picture above). What glory. An entire block was covered with lights, some part of a Santa scene, others celebrating winter, and still others highlighting a Nativity display (ah, yes, the good old days! ;-) ).
I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of the winking and blinking lights. I prefer the steady ones, shining out in the dark. Which brings me to today’s countdown. It’s really the dark that I’m writing about. Of the various things I could focus on connected to six, one stood out last week as I read Mark 15, along with my church as part of our Read the Word plan. This chapter you may recall tells the story of Christ’s crucifixion.
At the third hour — nine in the morning — they crucified Jesus. For six agonizing hours He hung on that cross, but during half of those, the land was shrouded in darkness.
When the sixth hour came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. (Mark 15:33)
In the sixth hour, or noon, the sun should have been its brightest. But it was not. I’ve tried to imagine what this darkness was like. Was it a naturally occurring phenomenon, a complete eclipse perhaps? Or was this supernatural — the kind of darkness the Egyptians experienced as one of the plagues that darkened even their lamps?
However the event took place — the sun was obscured, Luke said — it seems like a physical reality that pointed to a spiritual truth. Jesus, the Light of the world, was rejected by men. His life was being snuffed out in the same way the Jews would extinguish the light of a candle.
And yet … the darkness didn’t last. In fact, it existed only for three hours. And then? The temple veil ripped in two. Jesus died, and in so doing, He defeated sin and Satan and death itself. The Light of the world took on the darkness and prevailed.
And now? God’s flaming light has come to live in the hearts of those who believe on the name of Jesus, the only Begotten Son of God. His great Light has become all these little lights that we are to let shine. Imagine all our lights shining all over the globe right now, some clustered together; some dim; some pulsing through the dark, alone but brighter than any beacon.
What’s more, our light replicates. Where there were two, now there are four. Where there were four, now there are sixteen. That, at least, is how it should be, how it actually is where the Light of the world reigns.