Woodshed Wisdom, 1-4-14
By Freeman Martin

I’m really enjoying one of my early Christmas gifts. Well, actually I bought it for myself – upon the well-intentioned advice of my mill-hill bride. It was the umpteenth time I had cracked a toe or knee on the corner of the coffee table or the dresser or the chest of drawers, which I believe have a life of their own. I have long held the theory that some furniture moves around the house during the dark of the night.

And just when I think my groggy gray matter can remember where it’s located as I stumble toward my 2:00am appointment to the inside facility in the dark, Wham! There it is again – just like stumping my big toe on a tree root back home on the farm. With one exception. Now, all the racket (for city slickers that means noise) and all my moaning and groaning has aroused you-know-who from her deep beauty rest. And I know what’s coming next.

“Why don’t you just turn the light on when you get up,” she sweetly inquires of me and my throbbin’ big toe. “Well, baby doll, sugar dumplin’, I didn’t want to wake you up,” is the best I could come up with on the spur of the moment while in deep agony. “Well, hello, Mr. Big Toe, I’m awake anyhow now.” And here’s the clincher – don’t miss it – that led to my early Christmas present for which I shelled out the magnificent sum of two whole U.S. dollars plus tax.

My mill hill sweetness looked down at me where I had bounced off the wall and lay crumpled on the floor. “Have you ever thought about getting a nightlight?” It wasn’t so much a question as it was a subtle hint that my big toe wasn’t the only thing that would be throbbin’ if this happened again. So now we have a funny (as in odd) blue-colored aura from one end of the hall to the other. And guess what, it’s really hard to get any sleep now. But at least I won’t be waking up my MHB, and that’s a pretty nice return on my two-dollar investment.

Back home on the farm at the end of that dirt road, I would have given the pick of the litter of new pigs plus a year’s supply of eggs to have had a nightlight like that on my daily journey from the barn to the house after finishing my evening chores. And if I happened to be a little late with the chores, as I often was, it was pitch dark. I mean, it looked like ten miles of blackness between the barn and the house. Every swaying tree limb was a giant monster just waiting to reach out and grab me. Even today, some sixty years later, I still think about runnin’ around the farm in the dark just waitin’ for one of my brothers to scare the heebie-jeebies out me just because they knew how I hated the dark. On nights when the moon was hidin’ behind the clouds, it was a scary time indeed.

I guess that’s why I love reading the words of the Old Testament prophet Isaiah. It was an amazing 700 years before God sent a Great New Light to that Bethlehem barn to shine on a world where people were stumbling around in the dark.

Isaiah 9:2 (NIV) The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

In my little pea brain I think, Wow, 700 years! How did Isaiah know this? The only answer I can come up with is this – it was all according to God’s plan. And if He can create every mountain, every ocean, every bird, every frog, every tree and every bush on the face of the earth in six days, and He did, He can sure get the word to His messenger Isaiah. After all, He’s God and He can do anything!

Having grown up around a barn that was so dark at night you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face, I try to imagine the darkness around Mary & Joseph and the animals that night when God sent a New Nightlight to the world. Just one dirt road country boy’s opinion, but you and I would be remiss if we let the Light of Christmas fade with the packed up wreaths and decorations.

Isaiah9:6 (NIV) For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Lest we forget, Christmas is God’s engraved invitation, written in red (the blood of Jesus) to step out of the dark and into the Light. Are we kneeling in worship or stumbling around in the dark?

Maybe it’s time we got a New Nightlight.