I have always been fascinated by light. In fact, my earliest memory is as a toddler pulling myself up the iron bed frame early one morning trying to touch the light coming in the window. Still today, there is something magical about a light. Shining a spotlight into the night sky, watching the flickering light of a camp fire or leaning my head out the car window to catch the sun always bring a smile to my face.
Perhaps I smile at light not just because of its beauty or warmth, but because I have always associated light with God. The Scriptures certainly bear this association out. In the Old Testament we often see light represented as the power and majesty of God. The third verse of the first book of the Bible makes it clear God created the light and it was good and only after the light came living things. There are numerous passages throughout the Old Testament linking the miracles, magesty and presence of God to light. Stories of Moses and Joshua immediately come to mind.
In the New Testament, we see the light of Jesus associated with the uplifting and redemptive quality of God. Paul asks us as believers in Romans to “put on the armor of light” and in Ephesians to “walk as children of the light.” In the book of John, Jesus says ” I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
Scientifically we measure light or luminousity in units called lumen, the Latin word for light. A lumen is the “total amount of visible light emitted by a source,” such as a lightbulb. But, as it turns out, the term lumen also has another meaning. In the biological world, a lumen is the open space in the center of a tubelike structure. The central cavity or hole of a vein, artery or intestine is a lumen.
To me, the lumen is splendid metaphor for the light of God in our lives. The empty space in our souls is meant to be filled with the light of God. When we begin to allow God into our lives, we are accepting light into our soul. As our relationship with God through Jesus develops, the light intensifies pushing darkness out of our lives. As importantly, we in turn begin to re-emit this Godly or Christian light, shining its positive warmth on those around us. We may not be able to scientifically measure our spiritual luminosity but we can tell the light of God is working through us when we see those around us smile when our Godly lumen hits their faces.