We need the light so that we can see. Once a light has illuminated a room, we can move about it with ease, but before that happens, we are stuck in the dark. Cameras have the same issue. Unless there is some sort of light source, it cannot “see” the object we want to take a picture of. However there are several artistic options that photographers can play with in order to produce a picture. If the light is low the photographer can direct some sort of light onto the subject. They may use studio lighting but flashlights work too. Photos taken with a low amount of light are called low-key. A photographer may also opt to take a picture with a lot of light that almost makes the subject disappear into that light. These photos are called high-key. However most of the time photographers look for the right balance of light and dark, or shadows and bright spots when taking a picture. No matter what the condition it’s in light is crucial for the camera to record the image. If there is no light whatsoever, there will be no picture unless an artificial light source provides it.
Through the centuries light has come to symbolize understanding; that is when an idea or concept is grasped or recognized by someone who has not known it before. It’s the idea that is promoted when we say something has “come to light”. The information has been revealed and we understand what it means. The prophet Isaiah wrote about one of those moments when he recorded the words of Is. 9:1-2. When the land of Israel was assigned to the 12 tribes, Zebulun and Naphtali ended up in the northern region of the land. Isaiah says that the people have walked in darkness but now they will see a great light and he particularly mentions Zebulun and Naphtali. This seems to be a curious distinction. Why not the whole land? Why not all 12 tribes? After all, every person needs light when they are surrounded by darkness. Just ask all those people who own flashlights! Amazingly this promise was made approximately 700 years before it was fulfilled and the reason why Zebulun and Naphtali are singled out becomes clear when we examine some of the details concerning the life of Jesus recorded in Mt. 2:23 and Mt. 4:13. Jesus grew up in the town of Nazareth which is located in territory that was given to the tribe of Zebulun and He ministered in Capernaum, which is in the area of Naphtali’s allotment. God’s Light came into those places just as Isaiah said it would in such a specific way it cannot be missed.
Photography, faith and the art of seeing has taught me that like a camera, people will not see the image of Christ unless I project some light into their lives. The world we live in is darkened with sin. A steady diet of the news will prove that. But with the light of Christ in us, we can illuminate this dark world. Paul encouraged the Philippians to be “lights in the world” (Phil. 2:14-15) in the middle of all its darkness. If there is low light when I go to take a picture, it’s up to me as to whether I’ll use the existing light and adjust the camera or introduce an artificial light such as a flashlight, but nonetheless, there must be light. It challenges me to think about how I will be a light. Will I share the Good News of the Gospel with someone? Will I pray for unsaved family and friends? Will I be the hands and feet of Christ by giving money or goods (or myself!) to a food pantry, soup kitchen or an organization that helps those in need? Will I find a ministry in my church that needs help and give my time and myself to it? Will I be kind to the check out lady, smile at a stranger, be patient with an over-active child? Whatever it is, whatever choice I make, it’s the image of Christ that someone will see, so I want to make sure that the light reveals the right image and brings them understanding!
Ann H. LeFevre, M. Div.
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