Darkness into Light

Psalm 18:28: “You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”

Canaanite Oil Lamp, Reproduction of Circa 1500-600 B.C. in use at the time of King David

Canaanite Oil Lamp, Reproduction of Circa 1500-600 B.C. in use at the time of King David

Candles and Christmas just seem to go together. Even though I have more than enough electric lights in my house, I love to have candles burning at Christmastime. Maybe it’s because the days are short with dusk falling quickly in the afternoon, and a candle’s glowing flame warms the whole room in a way no light bulb can. Or maybe it’s that wonderful sense of anticipation each Sunday when we light the Advent Candle to remember the peace, joy, love and hope the Christ Child will bring into the world.

A thousand years before Jesus’ birth, King David reflected on God’s work in his life. Perhaps gazing into his oil lamp, David, in a moment of poetic prophecy, sees God’s action in the world as the source of all light. Yes, through creation, but now God opens David’s mind’s eye and gives him a glimpse of God’s true intention for the redemption of all humanity: “my God turns my darkness into light.” His words flash across the millennia, the harbinger of a tsunami of light splashing across a night’s sky crackling with the voice of a holy messenger, “Behold I bring you good tidings, of great joy, for today in the city of David is born a savior, who is Christ the Lord!”

And that One, the Incarnation of David’s vision, would say, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12, NIV)