If on a clear night I stand in the driveway that loops around the front of our house, the Big Dipper rises to my left just above our roofline, the pointer stars lined up to the North Star directly overhead. One of the benefits of living in the country is being able to see the stars without interference from ambient light. Years ago, my sons and I would make annual October canoe trips in Algonquin Park in Canada. We usually left home around midnight so we could make our launch point at daybreak. Driving through Toronto at two or three in the morning enabled us to miss the traffic congestion that typifies the main thoroughfares of that city. It didn't matter what time of night it was, if you looked up to the sky, all you could see was the haze of city lights; there was no real darkness. It wasn't until we approached Algonquin that the curvature of the earth finally blocked out Toronto's lights enough for us to see the stars pop out in all their glory.
It takes darkness for us to see the starlight. Though those stars may have the brightness of a thousand suns, the comparatively feeble light of a city being close at hand can render it unobservable here on earth. Similarly, the glitzy baubles of this world have the capacity to blind us to the greater light of Christ. The glories of this world are nothing compared to the bright glory of God's Presence, but they are more immediate, and can keep us from seeing Him who created the galaxies. Only when we leave the lesser lights of this world behind can we see clearly. It's called repentance, and as difficult as it at times can be, it's the only provision we have that enables us to walk into the darkness that we may see the Light.
Tonight, I'm grateful to live where I can see the stars that instruct me in faith and life.