When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
mortals that you care for them? [Psalm 8:3-4]
I grew up on a farm, about 10 miles from Giddings, Texas. Our address said Paige. Austin was the nearest city to us, just under 60 miles away. We had porch lights but not much else in the way of outdoor lighting.
The nights could be very dark.
On clear nights, it could be glorious.
As a teenager and into my twenties, when I'd come home late from work, dancing, theater, whatever, I'd sometimes park my car in our gravel driveway and lay down on the hood of my car and look at the stars. It was, again, glorious.
I was aware of other light around us. On cloudy nights, you could see the light of Giddings reflected on low clouds. There were times we could see lights from the Alcoa plant in Rockdale, about 40 miles away, but not always. (I don't know why, maybe there were times they had more lights on?) Our house was a half-mile from the highway and we could see cars, hear them too (particularly the large semis), passing.
I often wondered what the night looked like for Native Americans, before the Europeans (we) came. I was aware that even the little light pollution we had on that farm was still affecting the sight above me.
I was also aware that on nights of thick cloud cover, how very, very dark a night could get.
Our Scriptures were written in a desert land, without electricity. I wondered, too, how many more stars those people saw. Living in a modern city, as I do now, I am aware of the convenience of having lighted sidewalks nearly everywhere I want to walk at night----and I'm aware of the cost of them.
We pay in awe.
These ancient writers looked at the lights in the sky and praised God. They looked to the east and were relieved when the dark night was over and the sky began to turn light.
Knowing my face is illuminated by the computer screen on which I write, knowing that even in the day, I have lights on in my apartment, knowing that I will likely never experience the darkness of the ancients, I am thankful for the light we are given, both the literal light and the Light of Christ (thanks be to God).
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being
in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. [John 1:1-5]