Years ago when I was teaching, we took our eighth graders on a three-day science field trip to Catalina Island. One of the activities was to experience a sight deprivation maze. It’s hard to imagine a place as dark as that cramped labyrinth was.
From that experience I can tell you confidently, darkness is not beautiful. In fact, you can’t see the darkness. You simply can’t see anything. No shades or shapes, not even movement. Your eyes can’t register a single thing because of the absence of light.
Light, on the other hand, is exceedingly beautiful in its many manifestations. I thought of this again on Sunday as I was driving to church. Sunlight streamed through parted clouds, lining them with gold. Not silver, like the cliche. But it was so brilliant, I suppose you might say it was sort of silvery-gold.
And just the day before, as the sun was about to break above the horizon, its light painted a scattering of woolly clouds with pink, all but their outer gray edges. That’s nothing to the sunsets we get in the fall. Then there is the full moon climbing through the early night, or the crescent moon lingering with the last stars in the early dawn.
Light in its many forms is beautiful. Well, maybe not all artificial light can be said to be beautiful, but natural light does dramatic things. Starlight twinkles, sunlight refracts, candlelight glows, and firelight dances.
Any wonder then, that Scripture says Jesus is the Light of the world?
Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life
– John 8:12
Yet, most likely, because of the little bit of physical description we have of Jesus, we don’t think of Him as beautiful. Isaiah 53:2b says,
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
But then this from Psalm 27:
One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the LORD
And to meditate in His temple. (v. 4 – emphasis mine)
This morning I was listening to Awaken the Dawn, an album by Keith & Kristyn Getty. One song, “What Grace Is Mine” opens with these words:
What grace is mine that He who dwells in endless light
Called through the night to find my distant soul
The phrase “endless light” grabbed me. Not only does God dwell in endless light, He is endless light. It speaks to God’s eternal nature, but it also promises unlimited beauty. And what a contrast to the “night” through which He calls – the darkness of sin that blanks out the light. No wonder He needs to call me. My condition prohibits me from seeing even endless light. Except, He tore the veil.
All fear can flee for death’s dark night is overcome
My Saviour lives and reigns forevermore
This post is an edited version of one that first appeared here in January 2011.