“The morning sun from heaven will rise upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
When John the Baptist is born, his father Zechariah bursts into a song of praise. John will merely pave the way, but when Jesus comes “the morning sun from heaven will rise upon us.” It’s a brilliant image of darkness vanquished.
But when will that dawn appear? When will this darkness end?
A rabbi once asked his students how they could tell when night had ended and day was on its way back.
“Is it when you can see an animal in the distance, and can tell whether it is a sheep or a dog?”
“No,” answered the rabbi.
“Is it when you can look at a tree in the distance, and tell whether it is a fig tree or a peach tree?”
“Well then,” the students demanded, “when is it?”
“It is when you look on the face of another human being, and see that he or she is your brother or sister. Because if you cannot do that, then no matter what time it is, it is still night.”*
The sun we long for, in other words, must rise in our hearts. That is where the light must penetrate. The true light, “the morning sun from heaven,” will always reveal Christ in the face of someone you aren’t so sure about, maybe even your enemy. But if we can see—gasp!—a brother, a sister, then the sun has truly risen upon us.
Prayer: Sun of Righteousness, shine within us; illumine the eye of the heart and we will see your glory and your face in the face of all people. Amen.
*One Hundred Wisdom Stories, ed. Margaret Silf
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