The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it (v. 5).
Light is our primary tool for perceiving the world and communicating with it. So what happens when light is absent?
The ocean covers more than seventy percent of the planet and has an average depth of about 12,000 feet. And as you descend, light disappears. First red light is absorbed. Then the yellow and green parts of the light spectrum disappear, leaving just the blue. By 700 feet deep, the ocean becomes a kind of perpetual twilight, and by 2,000 feet, the blue fades out too. This means that the majority of the ocean, the largest habitat on Earth, is composed of a seemingly infinite expanse of complete and total darkness.
And life still thrives here.
Throughout the ocean a secret language of light exists. Where ambient blue light still penetrates, there are animals like sharks and eels with hidden neon patterns of green, red, and orange—colors that should not exist at this depth, which humans can only see by mimicking special filters found in the eyes of these sea creatures. In the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean, many animals produce their own light through a process called bioluminescence, letting them glow like lanterns. These luminous creatures use flashes and patterns of light to attract mates, find food, ward off predators, and sometimes just say hello.
To some, light is simply external beacons that we switch off and on as needed. To others, light is the ambient glow that illuminates what is hidden only when we change our perspective. And sometimes, light is the soft, internal glow that radiates from our deepest places to overcome the darkness so that life can thrive.
What depths can my internal light penetrate for myself and for others?
God, make me a beacon of your light, so that I may light up the darkness in a way that always points back to you. Amen.