My grandparents teased my mom and dad when they announced that they were naming their number two daughter "Dawn." It was fitting at the time since I was born at 6:18 a.m.
I guess it was my dad's dad who quipped, "If she'd been born at 6:18 p.m., I guess you would have named her "Twilight." Dad was not amused. (He wasn't known for his sense of humor.)
It turns out I was aptly named after all. I am definitely a morning person and I love to get an early start on the day. Winter is hard on morning people because the sun stays abed overlong. By the time it raises its radiant face, I've been at my desk for at least an hour.
But this morning, when I left for work, dawn had chased the darkness away and another day was well on its way. My feet were light as I descended the porch steps, as was my heart.
The powers that be are fixin' to steal that precious morning light come Sunday morning at 2 a.m., when they think no one will notice.
Oh, I'll notice all right. And I'll notice it every day until April 18, when I can once again forego turning on the porch light in order to make it safely down the porch steps on my way to the car. And even though I'll do my best not to snarl at my co-workers -- an especially prevalent danger during that first week of adjustment -- I confess the entire fiasco irks me no end.
If, as some propose, darkness is simply the absence of light, then I say, let there be light!
Certainly, we've had our share of dark days, not the least of which was the night of Jan. 21-22, when a McCook alley reflected absolute darkness as Kailee Clapp died.
That same darkness visited McCook, in July 2004, when Dave Moreau was murdered, a crime that, to date, remains unsolved.
The diminishing light isn't limited to the city of McCook, the state of Nebraska or even the United States of America. It is a worldwide phenomenon, but since the sun continues to rise each day, eclipsing the natural darkness of the night, no one seems alarmed.
However, I cannot find any other explanation other than darkness for the obvious increase in what appear to be random acts of violence and wickedness. I read about two young women this week, one of whom lent the other $20 to buy diapers. When the money was misspent and was not immediately repaid, a confrontation occurred. The end result? The stabbing death of a 22-year-old Brooklyn woman.
Another story relates the shooting of two U.S. Marshals and a police officer in St. Louis, Missouri when they attempted to serve a warrant. (In recent months it seems to have become open season on law enforcement, a situation that would have been unthinkable not all that long ago.) In this case, not only the gunman is dead, one of the marshals also succumbed to his injuries.
Apparently, this unnatural darkness also has enveloped entire nations for decades, the horrors of the oppression they suffer only recently coming to light, with more dark shadows undoubtedly still to be revealed.
Our internal, innate restraint seems to have deserted us. Now, when an impulse strikes, we act on it, seemingly without thought -- and an ordinary kitchen knife becomes a deadly weapon; we lash out verbally against any opposition and fists fly when no other weapon is readily available. In this new darkness, divorcing parents would rather see their children dead than raised by the estranged spouse.
Families are torn asunder, lives destroyed when the lusts of the flesh are obeyed, and otherwise law-abiding citizens become thieves when the temptation of a lost credit card is found, as happened when a millionaire picked up a credit card in a strip mall parking lot, unwittingly dropped by the cardholder. The man was charged with fraud after using the card to purchase two large pizzas, even though he had $250 cash in his wallet.
His reputation and possibly his dental practice are forfeit for that one unguarded moment when an inexplicable greed overtook his common sense. And his story is just one of many. Time and space constraints prohibit further examples.
Can we defend ourselves against this ever-increasing darkness, this fading light that colors everything in ever-deepening shades of gray?
The Scriptures are full of various descriptions and causes of darkness, with Jesus frequently contrasting darkness with the light that came unto men at his appearing. When he said, "I am the light of the world" in John 8:12, he didn't mean he was one of many lights. He meant he is THE light of the world. There is no other, nor will there ever be. He promises that all who follow him "shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."
He also warns in Matthew 6:22 and 23, "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!"
Light dispels darkness. The Light of the World, therefore, is our only sure defense against the encroaching, consuming darkness.
"This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." John 3:19-21 (NIV)
I don't have all the answers, but I know the One who does. Let's walk together for awhile and discover Him; together.