At night my little one has a night light that projects stars and a crescent moon onto his room’s ceiling. Like most kids–and adults too–he’s not a fan of the dark, so we let him keep a little LED flashlight in his bed. Also like most kids, he does his level best to stretch out the bedtime routine for as long as possible. One night he was shining his flashlight on the ceiling and exclaimed, “The moon disappeared, Daddy!”
I looked up and saw he had shined his flashlight where the moon should have been projected. I explained that it was just his flashlight was much brighter so he couldn’t see the moon. Sensing a teachable science moment I explained that that’s the case for the real moon and the sun. We then went through several rounds of the flashlight sun rising and outshining the stars and moon before setting again. Very cute, a good lesson, and great at accomplishing his mission of delaying sleep onset.
What my little guy couldn’t know was the thoughts the Lord stirred in me while laying there playing the day and night game. The following verse came to me:
“Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world, by holding firm to the word of life.”
– Philippians 2:14-15, CSB
People in general don’t like the dark, it’s instinctive. The causes for the physical dislike of darkness aren’t so important, because right now we are acutely aware of the spiritual dark we live in. Our world is a dark, dark place. For the most part, American culture and all its trappings does a phenomenal job of closing our eyes to it, but the dark is deep and real. Christians in particular should never lose sight of this, because we’re awaiting the dawn:
“We also have the prophetic word strongly confirmed, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”
– 2 Peter 1:19, CSB
Almost two thousand years ago Christ proclaimed that He is “the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.).” (John 8:14) In Matthew’s Gospel, He also said His followers are lights in this world:
“You are the light of the world. A city situated on a hill cannot be hidden.”
-Matthew 5:14, CSB
Much like the stars helped to guide navigators, we lead others to Christ and reconciliation with God. And much like the moon, we produce no light ourselves, we merely reflect the light of Him to Whom we have turned. We cannot stop letting that light shine in this darkened world until the True Light returns and brings with Him the dawn.
From everything I’ve read lately, it feels like many of us are getting swept up and pulled to different sides. Different sides of a dozen issues, but often those sides are different sides of the night sky. Politics isn’t our purpose. We are called to stand out and shine distinct against the backdrop. Our love for one another, for our neighbors, and for the One True God should draw the eye of those hungry for light, desperate for a way out of the dark.
Before we can take practical steps to helping others through these particularly turbulent times, we all could use a pause to look and make sure that our eyes are on Christ because when we face Him fully, His light will be reflected in us to others. And where His light and His Spirit are present healing can truly begin. We can’t let divisions in the world around us distract from our common calling and purpose, remembering:
“For you are all children of light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or the darkness.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:5, CSB
“The night is nearly over, and the day is near; so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”
– Romans 13:12, CSB