December 25, 2014 by J. Truett Glen
As I was considering what to study with our congregation a couple of Sundays ago, I naturally went to the advent passages and read through Luke 1 for that week. Even as I studied, the words of Zacharias did not stand out to me with any more force than usual. However, when we gathered together that Sunday and read aloud through the scriptures together, Zacharias’ prophecy struck me with power.
I have been hunting a lot recently and I have spent many mornings this fall in a tree stand waiting for deer to come my way. I’ve been memorizing Romans 1 and meditating on the testimony of creation that Paul speaks of. Paul writes:
That which is known about God is evident within them; for he made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Rom. 1:19-20)
As I was studying this passage the sun would be rising. First would come the twilight. The twilight has made a strong impression on me this fall. It creates an atmosphere of expectation, but one that is comforting and transcendent. I enjoy the twilight, the transition from darkness to light. The twilight brings with it sight. It’s not perfect sight, but it illumines the landscape so that I can differentiate between bird and limb, deer and bush. L’heure bleue whispers to my soul that something strong and life changing is coming. One thing is required to appreciate the twilight and the coming sun, and that is an awareness that you have been dwelling in the dark.
The psalmist writes, “My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning” (Psalms 130:6). The psalmist and the watchmen have the commonality of both knowing that something is coming that will change his condition. I’m confident that the twilight would not be so beautiful and cause so much reflection if it was the finale. The apostle John speaks to this transition, and proclaims moral wisdom based on the existence of Sunrise. He explains that those who hate their brothers do not reside in the light, but rather in darkness. John says that we can know this “because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining” (1 John 2:8).
When I read Luke 1:78-79 my emotions were awakened. “Because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Like the watchman I wait for the fullness of the Sunrise to make its presence known, but even now I feel it. Even now, this Christmas, I feel the warmth of its glow and the hope of its light. My healing has begun and I embrace its fruits. Because of the incarnate Christ spoken of by Zacharias and all the prophets, I fasten my face to the east in expectation of the Rising Sun, whom I have already welcomed into my heart. Malachi proclaims that for those of us who fear the name of God “the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings,” and we will “go forth and skip about like calves from the stall” (Malachi 4:2)
As the twilight comes in the morning and evening, remember the hope that you have within you. Remember the evidence that speaks to your heart. Like the psalmists and the prophets, remember that the Life-Giving Sunrise has come, is coming, and already resides in the hearts of those who believe. Merry Christmas my friends. Take time to listen to what creation is saying to you.
(All scriptures referenced from the NASB)