John 1:5. NRSV
The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.
Have you ever noticed how even the tiniest spark of light shines like a lighthouse beacon if it is really dark out?
My parents told stories about black out drills during WWII when air raid wardens would drive up and down neighborhood streets to make sure no light escaped the houses. They said that even someone smoking a cigarette outdoors at night could be reprimanded! The theory was that enemy planes could not drop a bomb on a target they couldn’t see. From having been in airplanes at night, I am quite well aware how bright the lights around a parking lot or sports venue are from 35,000 feet. Residential neighborhoods are easy to spot, also, with lots of little twinkling lights in clusters. I don’t know whether a lamp in a window would be visible from the air, but better safe than sorry, right?
On the other hand, light does overpower darkness. If you have ever looked at the stars from the mountains or desert you will note that they are much brighter and there are more of them than can be seen in more populated areas. It’s called light pollution, which keeps the night sky from ever being dark enough to allow those celestial lights to be fully visible.
It’s really hard to make a room fully dark. I have trouble sleeping at night if there is light in my room. (I can nap in the middle of the day just fine. Go figure.). If the moonlight is peeking through my drapes, or if there is green light on an electronic device in the room, or even if the lighted face of the clock in the room across the hall from my room is facing in precisely the right direction - that tiny bit of light can keep me awake.
And that gives me hope. In the darkest of days, or nights, just a spark is enough to break through the dark. Like the mustard seed and faith, just a spark is sufficient to fill hearts with hope. One of my favorite hymns begins with the words, “It only takes a spark”... just the tiny spark of God’s love. Just the tiny spark of hope. Just the tiny spark of good in the midst of trouble.
God of light, I am so grateful for the hope I receive from the smallest of sparks, the good deeds of your children flickering like candle light in the face of oppression and injustice. May you use me as one of those lights to drive back the dark. Amen.