It is the Eve of a New Year. She stands folding potato salad into a glass bowl, carefully arranging lettuce leaves around the outside edge. Engrossed in the task, it seems she is intent on getting this job done so as to move on to washing the ever-growing pile of dirty dishes in her sink. Everywhere she looks, there is a mess. Her kitchen is a disaster.
As she places another tear of green on the filled-to-capacity mound of white starch, he calls to her excitedly to look out the window. "Look at the sunset," he says. She raises her head and before her eyes she sees the light streaming in double layered glass windows that will never do justice to the glory of creation. The sky is ablaze with light.
He doesn't have to tell her twice. She runs for her camera, shoving boots on feet. Grabbing the nearest winter jacket she sees, she is out the door.
This fleeting moment she is intent on preserving: she knows she must must run after it. Or it will slip away, unnoticed. She is a chaser of light, a seeker of illumination. Catching steams of fading light while they are still present. She runs quickly, making haste.
Light travels fast, but so do swift feet and determined minds.
She is now running through snow drifts and sinking in deeper patches, but she doesn't care. There is a display of Glory in front of her. And she doesn't want to miss a second. Her camera snaps fast, fingers flying. A car pauses at the road while she gets just the right pose. As she turns back to head for her house, she sees that behind her, the trees are holding the light in stately branches. There is a warm glow in the tallest of the grove and she pauses for another moment to capture again the light as it transforms the grey backdrop into a light show of epic proportions.
And as fast as the light has come, it disappears. There is quickly darkness everywhere.
It is true that we are often enveloped with the heaviness of the bleak world in which we live. Life is often disappointing. There is not always a happy ending to every story. There is not always light to behold. Darkness is ever before us.
But darkness is always transformed by light. This is the order of our natural world. Dark then light. Light then dark. And then the light. And even with the dark, a light shines piercing the black shadows.
We must chase the light when we encounter it. For even as we turn from the enclosing darkness, we catch glimpses of the light surrounding us from every side. When the darkness is before us threatening to pull us under, we must turn around to see the radiance from another place. View the light from a different vantage point. Yes, darkness is everywhere, but we can be assured that Light will come again.
There is a year of days stretched out before us. A year of light beckoning us to run after it, calling us to join the chase. May we always look for the light. May we ever be pursuers of the illumination we see all around us. And when the radiance of light fades, may we be reminded to look for it in different places. Always knowing light follows darkness.
Light will always return.