There is something about darkness. . . Children cry out at night in fear of darkness. They associate darkness with monsters. In fear they "feel" the monsters in the room.

Darkness also intensifies fears for adults--hearts pound, pulses race, sweat pours. Moving to a new place to live is a wonderful experience--in the day time. How long does it take you to identify all the new night sounds? How many nights are necessary before you "sleep in peace" in the knowledge that new sounds are not new dangers?

In the winter when daylight is short and darkness is long, adult depression increases. My Dad died of Alzheimer's. For months, as sunset faded into darkness, he experienced "sundown syndrome." Darkness transformed him into a different person.

People who experience light's blessings also have a healthy respect for darkness. An exhilarating walk in the woods on a sunny day is an adventure in fear at night. A sidewalk traveled without thought in daylight becomes a trek of nervousness in the dark.

Darkness deepens loneliness. It transforms tranquillity into anxiety. It changes calm into nervousness. It magnifies stress. Have you ever yearned for daylight to come quickly? Have you ever dreaded the coming of darkness?

To experience absolute darkness is horrible. The total absence of light immobilizes us. When I was a teen, my family visited Mammoth Cave. At a level of well over 100 feet underground, our guide had everyone sit down. With full explanation, he turned off all light. He had us sit down because in absolute darkness you are easily disoriented. You can lose your balance. It was so dark you could touch your eyeball with your finger tip without seeing it.

Jesus came to provide light to our world. John declared it was Jesus' life that provides us light (John 1:4). Jesus understood that he came to be the light source for our world. On an occasion of public teaching, he declared, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). Through Jesus we see how to live. Light fills our life because Jesus is our light source.

Because light makes it possible to see and to distinguish, light reveals. Some do not like what they see. They would rather live in darkness than see. Jesus explained to Nicodemus that evil people love darkness and hate light because light exposes actions. Those who hate light avoid it. They do not want to clearly look at self, do not want to distinguish between good and evil within their lives (John 3:19-21).

Do you live in light or in darkness? To you, is light a blessing or a curse? Do you intently look in your life to see yourself? Do you allow Jesus to "turn the light on"? Does the light that comes from Jesus' life give you life? Does the light Jesus provides show you how to live?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 22 July 2001

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