I love this time of the year.
Each day begins with a determined resistance to getting out of bed to watch the sun make his strategic appearance because it happens really early. The first colours of the dawn start streaking the sky around four am. After about twenty minutes of trying to ignore what is happening outside my window, I have no choice but to get up, fling open the door and rush out to be awed by what I see.
It is such a performance and each day is different. The colours change from burnt orange to delicate pink to shimmering gold and everything in between. Some mornings the colours are more dramatic, other times they are more subtle. I can almost see God smiling as he operates the machine that makes this kaleidoscope, His delight in the show He is orchestrating as much as His delight in astounding us.
The build-up to the actual appearance of the sun is quite spectacular, and one is stretched waiting for the moment of that first glimpse of the orb above the horizon. You only need to glance away and you can miss it. Once that thin line of golden light appears on the horizon, the ascent is very quick.
There are mornings when I fancy the pomp and ceremony accompanying this daily ritual to be quite arrogant. Other times, the sun almost seems shy about its entrance onto the heavenly stage. I can quite see why the ancients, and I suppose some still today, deified the sun as there is a sense of majesty, a feeling of awe that accompanies this splendid arising.
If we return to the creation story in Genesis, it is written that God made this great light to rule over the day, and the lesser light to rule over the night. So the sun is imbued with a certain authority and has a duty to perform. Why is that we humans ever want to worship that which we can see, and spurn so willingly that Creative Force behind the created that we are unable to see. We seek for that which our finite minds can control, loth to let go and give praise to a Heavenly Being that seems distant and unapproachable. I love the thought that my heavenly Father actually does this for me, in fact He does it speciallyvery simply because He loves to see my delight at the show He puts on for me each day.
Isaiah 62 v4, God says He delights in us. In verse 5 He says He rejoices over us much as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. Again in Psalm 149 verse 4 the psalmist says “For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.” What an awesome thought! That the God of all takes time each day to delight His children!
It is not just at the beginning of each day either. The whole performance is repeated at the end of the dayjust in case we miss the first show!It is easier to be aware of all this when you are in an environment that is more rural, away from the madding crowd as it were.
Sundowners are quite a tradition here at the beach. A couple of times a week we make time to meet at some strategic spot simply to enjoy the sunset, catch up with each other, and wind down the day together. It is a peaceful time, a time of companionship, a happy time.
The other Saturday my neighbours invited me to join them in farewell sundowners for their guests from Sweden who were leaving the following day at the lake a short distance behind the dunes of the beach. What an extraordinary evening that was! The beginning of the sunset was really quite ordinary. After a while, however, we noticed that the clouds opposite where the sun was going down were tinged with an amazing pink. Then it happened. The whole scene changed and rays of pink and gold and orange and all sorts radiated out – the entire sky was involved. Swirls of cloud illuminated with different hues, changing every few moments. As if that were not enough, it was all reflected in the waters of the lake, so we felt as though we were in a 3D experience. The Swedes among us said it put them in mind of the northern lights.
A natural phenomenon caused by some dust particles in the sky I am sure would be a logical explanation for it. I prefer to think it was God giving the holiday-makers a good send off and a lovely start to their new year.
I love this time of the year.