The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
— Isaiah 9:2

I enjoyed reading Barbra Brown Taylor’s Learning to Walk in the Dark. One of her points is how we often think of the dark as evil or dangerous, yet how many powerful events in the Bible happen in the dark, such as the visitation of angels and visions.

He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with him. – Daniel 2:22

I went to an art museum that I hadn’t visited in many years, especially to see a Chinese Temple on display there. I was impressed with the museum’s renovations and new displays and how they were lit. I noticed how the color of the walls allowed the light to bring greater contrast to the art, making it even more vibrant. Fitted lights at a restored shrine, allowed visitors to see the detailed woodcarving. New technology was allowing pieces of art to be viewed in exciting ways.

I made my way into the Chinese Temple and I was disappointed. I could see the light fixtures were updated, but I desired more light to see the details. I made my way to the wall plaque and began to read the text. The temple would have been lit only by light that came through the walls, small windows and by candles. I stopped my 21st Century mind and thought that the curators might be trying to honor the idea of how much light (though modern) might have been in the temple.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. – John 1:5

So, I went to a bench, I sat down and closed my eyes to accelerate my eyes adjusting to the light of the space. I opened my eyes and slowly the details of the temple began to reveal themselves. The longer I sat, the more I could see. No longer desiring more light, I could see how the light was filling the space. Most interesting to me was a bright spot of light on the ceiling. Looking for the source of this light, I realized it was the light from outside the temple space bouncing off the marble floor that created this place of brightness. If I hadn’t let my eyes adjust to the darkness, I wouldn’t have noticed the spot of brightness or its source.

They rise in the darkness as a light for the upright; they are gracious, merciful, and righteous.
Psalm 112:4

How many times have we been somewhere and thought, “I need to shine a light on this.” Or, “I can’t see what they see.” Have we taken the time to allow ourselves to adjust to our environment? Will we take the time to discover where those places of light are unfolding in our spaces? Will we be humble and gracious during those moments when we may be the ones bringing that light? Are we willing to sit in darkness?