Advent devotion: Eclipse

News | December 13, 2019

“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” – C.S. Lewis, “Is Theology Poetry?”

In August 2017, my wife, Sonia, and I made a pilgrimage to Homestead National Monument Park in Beatrice, Nebraska. We joined thousands of others including Bill Nye the Science Guy, musicians, characters from PBS children’s shows and NASA astronomers. We all gathered to watch the total eclipse of the sun.

It was a wonderful day with a program of music, fascinating lectures, and skits.

As the time of the eclipse drew near, everyone was nervous. The sky was overcast, there was a brief shower, and it began to look unlikely that we were going be able to see the eclipse at all. The scientists on stage came up with a solution to the problem, leading us all in a chant of “Go away clouds!” Remarkably, the sky cleared and the crowd witnessed one of the most incredible events that occurs in the heavens.

Birds roosted and roosters crowed as the sun began to disappear. As the moon completely blocked our view of the sun, stars appeared in the sky and the prairie was lit by a dim and eerie light that scientists in 1919 discovered came from the sun’s rays bending around the moon. It’s not something that can be described well because it’s unlike anything else. A deep emotional response swept over the crowd. Some of us teared up and others cheered.

Totality lasted only minutes and then the sun’s radiance burst from the lunar shadow. The reemergence of the sun is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

Every Christian goes through a time in their life when the joys and comforts, the assurance and confidence we have in Christ are eclipsed by some tragedy, a trial that overwhelms us; but there is still that dim light, evidence that God is still with us, saving us from the time of trial and bringing us through it.

Dick Vogel lives in Davenport with his wife Sonia.

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