I guess there were a few years when our house was completely dark all night; but only a few. In the early years the nursery light was on several times for feeding or comforting. Later the desk lamp stayed on many nights as graduate school papers and projects were written. More recently the teenager’s study light is barely cool before one parent is up giving in to middle-aged sleepless patterns. And just about the time sleep returns the other parent is up to get some a pre-dawn exercise. And the eldest member of the household has forgotten the difference between day and night. There always seems to be a light burning.

Drive down any street in town in the middle of the night and there will always be a few windows framed in soft yellow light. You wonder what’s keeping these folks awake. Is it regrets of the day past, or concern of what morning will bring? Is someone sick or scared? Is someone headed to work or just getting home from the night shift?

I see in Ric Daly’s “One Lighted Window” a reminder that someone is keeping watch through the night. Something is urgent enough to keep them awake while the rest of the world is sleeping. We’ve all been there.

Maybe there was just one lamp-lit window on a back street in Bethlehem that helped the shepherds locate the baby Jesus on that night long ago. (Luke 2.16) Maybe years later, the risen Christ stood on a dark street looking up at one lamp lit window and prayed for his followers huddled together in doubt and confusion before appearing to them and bidding them “Peace be with you.” (John 20.19)

Our Lord knows when your light is on during the night. The Lord knows what is keeping you from sleep. Christ is with you in the darkness, and his is the only light that will guide you to the morning.

Watchman, tell us of the night, for the morning seems to dawn.
Traveler, shadows take their flight; doubt and terror are withdrawn.

Watchman, you may go your way; hasten to your quiet home.
Traveler, we rejoice today, for Emmanuel has come!
—John Bowring, 1825

by Doug Vancil

Advent Services:

December 17, 6:30 pm | Carol Sing with Orchestra – sing you favorite carols with the church orchestra.

December 20, 5:00 pm | Blessing of the Family – a special dinner and service for families with preschoolers.

December 21, 10:30 am | Service of Lessons and Carols – led by all First Baptist choirs.

December 21, 5:00 pm | The Longest Night – a service of comfort for all who are struggling in body, mind, and soul this holiday season.

December 24, 5:00 pm | Christmas Eve – a service of carols, communion, and candlelight.