Christmas lights are one of my favorite parts of this season. They outline shapes, adding dimension, color, and intrigue to everyday objects. Sometimes a devotional I read will act as a string of lights for a particular passage. And that’s what happened with Malachi 4:1-6 today, specifically with the second verse:
2 But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings.
It reminds me of the idea that the sun never set on the British empire…and somewhere in the world, the sun is rising. The hope of a new day happens for all people everywhere. And God can bring healing in those moments.
A pastor at my church dug out some meaning from the Greek, showing that the “sun of righteousness” referred to Jesus, and “wings” could also refer to the edge or corner of a garment. Clothes with healing powers, he pointed out, sounds a lot like Jesus’ robe in Matthew 9.
One other perspective that I have admired is from a metaphysical poet named Gerard Manely Hopkins.
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
Source: Gerard Manley Hopkins: Poems and Prose (Penguin Classics, 1985)
The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus like a dove at His baptism
…and God continues to work in this world, with the care of a mother bird for her chicks.
The Son has dawned as the light of this world, and has brought healing to the sin in all dimensions of our existence from spiritual to physical.
God, thank You for the depth of Your word. Thank You for “lightbulb” moments of understanding how You are at work through a passage. Thank You for sending the Light into this world, and for caring so tenderly for us. Please help me to share that love in the simple interactions of my day. Amen.