Don’t you feel, just a little, pricked and prodded with hope by the tiny lights that flicker around us at this time of year? So many people put lights in windows, wrap them around stairs, weave them through evergreens, hang them outdoors to sway in the wind … making the darkness a little brighter.
And it’s not so much that darkness is unwelcome … there is a slumbrous, restful quality to deep velvety darkness … we can close our eyes and sink into it. Rest. Find peace. Yet we can be warmed, held, and uplifted by each small light that is kindled within it, too.
So I wanted to share sacred texts from three traditions about lamps and light. This idea crosses many cultures and faiths. It is a reminder that we are all deeply connected.
In the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament, we find this passage: Psalm 18.28 —
“It is you who light my lamp; the Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.”
And also, Psalm 119:105 —
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
In the New Testament, we find this verse: Matthew 5:14-16 —
“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
In the Qur’an, we find the following passage: Qur’an 24:35, Ayat an-Nur, The Light Verse —
“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The Parable of His Light
is as if there were a Niche and within it a Lamp:
the Lamp enclosed in Glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star:
Lit from a blessed Tree, an Olive, neither of the east nor of the west,
whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it:
Light upon Light! Allah doth guide whom He will to His Light:
Allah doth set forth Parables for men: and Allah doth know all things.”