Dawn on Our Darkness: There’s Nothing Like the Sun

There’s nothing like the sun as the year dies,
Kind as can be, this world being made so,
To stones and men and birds and beasts and flies,
To all things that it touches except snow,
Whether on mountainside or street of town.
The south wall warms me: November has begun,
Yet never shone the sun as fair as now
While the sweet last-left damsons from the bough
With spangles of the morning’s storm drop down
Because the starling shakes it, whistling what
Once swallows sang. But I have not forgot
That there is nothing, too, like March’s sun,
Like April’s, or July’s, or June’s, or May’s,
Or January’s, or February’s, great days:
August, September, October, and December
Have equal days, all different from November.
No day of any month but I have said—
Or, if I could live long enough, should say—
“There’s nothing like the sun that shines today.”
There’s nothing like the sun till we are dead.

~Edward Thomas “There’s nothing like the sun”

Each day throughout the year, I search the sky for a hint of how the sunlight might appear through the clouds. Like a gallery of landscapes in a museum, the artistry of Light penetrating darkness changes moment to moment. Some days the sun is completely missing in action and we’re covered under a gray flannel blanket. Other days, there are no clouds whatsoever for the light to flow over and play with.

November can be particularly poignant because of the dying light at the end of the year. At times I feel desperate for the dawn, almost worried it won’t come. During these recent chill late autumn mornings, any light is welcome, along with the potential warmth it brings.

I keep taking pictures of what I see during this transition from night to light and light to night. I keep trying to find words to describe what these brief moments feel like, as it is always a visceral experience, often exhilarating, watching the sun navigate the horizon yet again.

I know if I could only live long enough, there will be a day when I say “nothing can equal the light I see today.” That would indeed be the day when the ultimate Light has called me home. What I see here is merely the preview. Indeed, God Himself came down to see how things look from our perspective.

There’s nothing like the Son to light the way home.

This year’s Advent theme “Dawn on our Darkness” is taken from this 19th century Christmas hymn.

Brightest and best of the sons of the morning,
dawn on our darkness and lend us your aid.
Star of the east, the horizon adorning,
guide where our infant Redeemer is laid.
~Reginald Heber -from “Brightest and Best”


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