I sat in the pre-dawn dark watching the gathering glow in the east. A bird broke the stillness with a solitary song. Soon, others joined him in the gathering light until they filled the air with a chorus of calls. It was as if the birds had waited through the long hours of darkness wondering if the sun would return, and, once it did, they were delirious with joy.

We sometimes feel that way, when the darkness closes in on us. We sometimes wonder, as the birds seem to do, if the dawn of light and goodness will ever again dispel the darkness of violence and pain.

I’ve watched the sun rise over the snow-covered hills of Minnesota, painting the landscape with crimson and gold until ice-covered limbs sparkle like diamonds. I’ve watched the sun stain the eastern horizon with purple and gray before penetrating the breaking clouds with shafts of gold. I’ve watched the day dawn over the mountains of Montana and Switzerland. I’ve seen it transform the sea into pink and purple waves in Hawaii.

The sunrise is the perfect symbol for God’s intervention into our world.

When John the Baptist was born, his father understood the importance of his son’s birth. For nine months Zechariah had reflected on the angel’s announcement to him that he would have a son in his old age. He had been mute throughout his wife’s pregnancy. But when John was born, his tongue was loosed and he burst into praise. He said, “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1:76-79).

In every generation, those who have faith have seen the sunrise of God. Darkness cannot conquer it. Corrie Ten Boom and Dietrich Bonhoeffer saw it during the dark days of Hitler’s Holocaust. Louis Zamparini discovered it after surviving the Japanese prisoner of war camps. Rachel Scott and Cassie Bernall bore witness to it during the massacre at Columbine. The Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, gave testimony to it after their daughters were gunned down in a one-room school. Countless thousands have borne witness to that light that refuses to be extinguished.

This is what John meant when he wrote, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. … The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:4-14).

Bill Tinsley reflects on current events and life experience from a faith perspective. Visit www.tinsleycenter.com. Email bill@tinsleycenter.com.

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