Because of the tender mercy of our God,
the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace. Luke 1:78-79
(Photo by Gretchen Burkhart)
The promise of dawn casts hopeful rays across the earth.
I’m reminded of the first ever sunrise. The Holy Spirit broods over the deep, God divides night from day, the morning stars sing together for joy.
I think about how the Spirit is still here, still fashioning order from chaos, still separating light from dark.
After creation four thousand years ensue when night seems to engulf Israel. Rebellion swallows her up in darkness and the people of God stagger around in mourning and exile.
And yet day continues to follow night, mercy comes fresh in the morning, promises of a new dawn punctuate holes in the dark.
Let us acknowledge the LORD;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear. Hosea 6:3
The Word is fulfilled in the birth of Jesus, Immanuel, who did appear, who became flesh and dwelt among us, showing us the radiance of God’s glory and the full extent of His grace.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new a glorious morn
We live in a new day when Jesus is still with us and is still coming to us, calling us to live as children of the light, “awake to God and to other people” (Ratzinger, p 27).
I think about the thrill of hope that doesn’t leave me in the dark but promises me a new dawn to look forward to. I think about how even though weeping endures for the night, joy comes in the morning.
I think about how every single sunrise is a foretaste of the glorious Sunrise to come, where night will be banished and we will awake for the final time into an eternity of daylight.
Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:3-4
We press on to acknowledge the One who was, who is, and who is to come and we cry out with the angel, to tell the whole world of the tender mercy of our God:
Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased! Luke 2:10-14