I had a duh moment last Wednesday evening as I was leading the singing for a group of residents at a local assisted living facility. For those unfamiliar - or too old - a duh moment is that instant when something that should have been all too obvious suddenly becomes plain.
Here's an example of a duh moment. Back in the 70's (1970's) there was a television program called Hawaii Five-O about Hawaii's state police. We watched partly because we had just returned from two years in Hawaii and it was a connection to the places we had seen. I remember thinking at the time that Hawaii Five-O was a strange name. It wasn't until years later that it suddenly dawned on me - 5 O ... 50 ... Hawaii was the 50th state to join the union! We all have these embarassing duh moments ... right?
Anyway, back to my most recent. We were singing Silent Night and were on the third verse. How many times have we all sung " ... Son of God .. loves pure light ..."? It's really amazing how our minds work: I'm singing the song and happen to be reading the words when, all of a sudden, I see the words as if for the first time.
It's not " ... Son of God .. loves pure light ..." but " ... Son of God .. love's pure light ...". It's not that Jesus loves pure light, but that Jesus is love's pure light! He is the pure light and radiance of God's Love to us.
"For God so loved the world that he sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16
"There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man." John 1:9 (NASB)
"Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'I am the light of the world ...'" John 8:12 (NASB)
That's what the author of the song, Joseph Mohr, meant. It's not that Jesus as love's pure light is a new theological discovery to me, but, that now, whenever I sing this wonderful Christmas hymn, I am singing it with the fuller meaning and understanding that the author intended.
What is also interesting is that all this time while singing and not fully understanding the intent, others could have been hearing with the right understanding. How easy it is to see and not see, to hear and not hear -- until it has been revealed. And how glorious that revelation!
I shared my duh moment with those at the assisted living facility that evening. The next time Silent Night is sung, maybe some will have a renewed joy in proclaiming and hearing the timeless truth of "Son of God, love's pure light."