It is 1am.
I am illuminated to an idea that I have never really considered before. In scripture the metaphor of light is undeniable. And usually, the metaphor points us rightly to the holiness of God - the bright whiteness of his moral righteousness. But there is another dimension to the reality of light that I cannot deny - light is a comfort as well.
Let me briefly explain.
Having gone to bed at around 9:30p, I am now up per our current routine, awakened from some sort of RIM cycle by the cry of my two month old boy. As I, still half asleep, feed him a bottle of milk in our mostly darkened living room, I notice three sources of light.
The first light is unapproachable yet desirable - it comes from the heavens. If you have never seen the stars from 7200 feet above sea level, away from the city-glow, on a clear night, you should. Just over my right shoulder, the big dipper is positioned downward between two small mountain peaks, like an ice cream scoop poised to rake down upon some unsuspecting frozen goodness. The sky is bright with stars tonight. And I find the illuminating light comforting at this late hour.
The second light is approachable yet undesirable - it comes from the earth. Across the small frozen lake behind our back yard sits O'Malleys Irish Pub. The bright lights there are colorful and neon. The blue, green, red, yellow lights are distinguished enough to know what they represent but not clear enough to read from here. While the beauty of this light pales in comparison to the light from above, I must admit that it is somewhat comforting in a strange way to know that I am not the only one awake at this late hour.
The third light is approachable and desirable - it is the reflection of heaven upon earth. As I hold my son in front of me, the light from the stars reflects off of his face. I can see his eyes; his forming features reflect enough light to be distinguished in the dark. I approach his face with a kiss on the cheek. Although the other lights are brilliant and interesting, I find more life in this light than the others. I also find this light is most comforting of all at this late hour.
With perhaps a few flickering and interesting lights surrounding them across the countryside, a brilliant light from above that caused them to rejoice with great joy and a third light that reflected from the face of the One whom they traveled so far to worship, there is little doubt that these wise men were impressed by the holiness and innocence of the little One before them.
But perhaps at that late hour, they were made to feel the comforting light of heaven upon earth as well.