He watched them walk away, out of the garden, down the hill, and tasted the pain of that moment. Even with their first glory withered, they were strong, and beautiful, the crowning glory of His creation. But their light had gone out. Though the sun hung vivid and burning in the sky, they were walking into that darkness their descendants would call history. They had, themselves, become that darkness. It was a darkness full of petty evils that would grind their souls to dust. It was the kingdom of death, and the end of the beginning
And, as the long night continued, it grew darker, and darker and darker – violence, lust, hatred, murder, and the twisted worship of perverted things. Downward the world spiralled, away from its only source of light and hope, and the tears of its children were more bitter than the saltiness of the sea. And the day came when the waters covered all the earth, and the grossest evils were washed away – but the darkness had not been defeated, and the small group of people on that lonely boat carried it still, each within them.
Years passed. A man was called out, in obedient faith, and stumbled, in broken love, to follow the calling. Children were born, a nation grew, small lights shone in the darkness like faint and distant stars. But few saw the light, and they clung, by choice to the darkness, even though it cost them everything. There was a great redemption, the calling forth of a race of slaves to become the people of light, but even at their best they were fitful followers, and sometimes their darkness was very dark indeed. He sent leaders and prophets, torchbearers into the darkness, and there would be a momentary flare of light, a brief flash of understanding, before the darkness descended again. And the night endured. And through the long night the faithful endured, hoped, prayed and wept.
Then there came a night when light invaded darkness – and the heavens themselves were afire with praise. For He, Himself, the Light of the world, the light from beyond all worlds, came down to become one of them, to live inside the darkness, under the heavy burden of the shadow of death. Could it possibly be that the long, long night was finally drawing to a close? He came in the darkest hour of night, bringing life, and that life was the light of men. But, locked in darkness, they did not understand, and they rejected the light. And thus He entered into the deepest darkness, and the light-bearer became the sin-bearer, and the light of the sun was hidden, and the darkness of death swallowed Him up. And there, in the deepest night, He overcame, and returned to the light, bringing the promise of morning with Him.
And so we wait, through the long night, and we know that the darkness is no longer such a terrible thing, for He has promised the morning shall come, and the glory that shall break upon us on that day is His glory, and night shall be no more. And there shall no longer be any need of sun nor moon, for the Sun of Righteousness has risen with healing in His wings, and he has said, and will say, “Let there be light!”