This evening, as I sat in my office, the light of the dipping sun traced it’s away across the wall in a beautiful swathe of gold.
The photographers call it golden hour, and for good reason. Not only are the colours beautiful but also the light is soft, gently wrapping around forms in flattering ways. Even the bricks of the neighbour’s house look beautiful at this time.
But it doesn’t last. All too quickly the wonder fades and the shadows lengthen. Night comes, and those gold hues linger only as a memory. Life is full of such transient moments, and as I pause to think on them I see the mirror they hold up to my own life.
The psalmist declares:
“LORD, what are human beings that you care for them, mere mortals that you think of them? They are like a breath; their days are like a fleeting shadow. (Psalm 144 verse 3-4)
A breath. A fleeting shadow. A touch of golden sunlight dazzling in a photographers lens before flying away on wings unseen.
It is easy to be bogged down in the schedule of daily life and miss the passing of time. The pages of the calendar keep flipping over to reveal new days and new spots for new things. A night out with family on Monday, bible study on Wednesday, music practise on Thursday, and so it goes on, week after week with one thing leading into the next thing.
And then Christmas comes with all its red and green festive intensity, and I think to myself how quickly the year has flown. Where did the time go?
No wonder the Psalmist elsewhere says:
So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90 verse 12)
Wisdom to see our lives for what they are, wisdom to use them as we should. Our days are gifts to us, precious gifts, not to be taken for granted or squandered away.
The Greatest Gift
Christmas is all about gifts, the gifts we give and the ones we receive. But most of all it is about the greatest gift ever given.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John Chapter 3 verse 16)
The Lord has indeed looked upon us, in all our transitory frailty, and he has thought of us. And the depths of His care for us have been revealed in the sending of His Son, Jesus Christ, whose coming into the world we celebrate on Christmas day.
But the beautiful Christmas story we know and love about shepherds and stars and wise men on camels is only the beginning of the story. The baby in a manger became a man on a cross. The body once wrapped in swaddling clothes was broken; the hands that Mary kissed were pierced.
Jesus took the sins of the world upon his shoulders and bore in his body the weight of their penalty. He died, an ugly, brutal death, far removed from the choir of angels that sang in his birth. But three days later He rose again in triumphant victory over death and sin, the cords of the grave forever broken. His great work was finished, and all of heaven rejoiced.
And so I move from contemplating the fleeting shadows to gazing at the wondrous sustaining light of eternity.
Eternal life! Who could imagine? And not a life like what we see on this earth, with its touches of beauty mingled with pain and ashes. Eternal Life with the source of all life, the fountain of wisdom and knowledge, the spring from which all love and beauty gushes. Eternity with Christ!
My days may be few, but they are not the end. A far greater future awaits. May I live my days in the light of that.
Thomas Devenish lives in Hobart, Tasmania with his wife and two daughters. He works as a motion designer and enjoys the diverse experiences life has to offer, from chasing tennis balls to curling up with a good book on a rainy day. Thomas Devenish’s previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/thomas-devenish.html