Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Twelfth Night

The month of December always reminds me of two things: light and babies. I guess there are a number of obvious reasons for that! I know Jesus probably wasn't really born in December but rather the spring, but I love the idea of the Light of the World arriving at the darkest part of the year. I just finished a seven-month study on the I AM statements of Jesus (and I say "finished" because I completed the study, not because I've discovered everything there is to know about it because it is inexhaustible--in fact, I just found out some more stuff the other day). Each of the individual statements was so fascinating to study in its own right, but today I'm thinking about "I AM the Light of the world."

Thousands and thousands of human years after standing in the void and declaring “Let there be light,” the closing of the first day of the Feast of the Tabernacles had arrived, and Jesus was teaching in the Temple in the Court of the Women in Jerusalem. Great candelabra, with great golden bowls of oil, were prepared for the celebration. These were to represent the ancient cloud and the pillar of fire that had led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the wilderness to the Promised Land. As the evening approached, a large crowd of people arrived at the temple for the lighting of the candelabra. When darkness fell, young men in line for the priesthood climbed on ladders and lit the great torches. The blaze was so immense that suddenly the darkness was pierced with such a light that it is said to have illuminated every street and square in the city of Jerusalem. The light could be seen for miles around the city. It is in this very court, possibly the very moment of the lighting that Jesus cried out: "I AM the Light of the world." In effect, Jesus was saying, "You have seen the blaze of the Temple illumination piercing the darkness of the night. I am the Light of the world. The light in the Temple is a brilliant light, but in the end it flickers and dies. I am the Light that lasts forever." He declared, "I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life" (John 8:12).

In June 2005, I was 5 or 6 weeks pregnant. I was at my office, and, every expectant mother's worst nightmare, I started bleeding. I remember driving to the doctor's office for an injection and sonogram, tears running down my face, just praying, "Please let her be OK" over and over (for I knew even then I was carrying my little girl). I lay on the table as the technician put the cold gel over my abdomen and then began to press down with the ultrasound equipment.

She searched for a few moments, some of the longest moments of my life, and then said, "There!" As I looked at the screen, I saw a tiny light, flickering on and off, steadily. "See that light? That's the heartbeat. Your baby looks just fine."

My "baby" really looked like the tiniest blob, a small grouping of cells and tissue. But in the center of it, was that light, blinking regularly. The technician took a picture of it and told me to go home and rest. That picture is one of my treasured possessions.

And...on a cold night the following December, a little unexpectedly and kind of in a hurry, that little light joined our family. We named her Elaine, a French name that means "Light." She has lit up our little family for two years now, and we thank God--the author and creator of Light both immense as the Sun and as tiny as a newly formed heartbeat--for our precious girl.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17
Happy birthday, sweet little Elaine. I love you!

1 comment:

Juliet said...

That's a beautiful story. Now I know how Elaine got her name.

A Belated "Happy Birthday" Elaine