Staring in the Face of a Blinding Light

Staring in the Face of a Blinding Light

I don’t really know true darkness. Do you?  I have been a Chicago suburb girl all my life, so even when the moon isn’t shining at night there has always been some ambient light from streetlights or the latest promotional gimmick at a local store.

I can remember going camping with my middle school astronomy class to do some star gazing. We drove hours and hours away to get to a place where it was dark enough to truly see the stars.

We huddled up under the light in a picnic shelter as our teacher gave us our instructions. He turned off the light and sent us out. It took our eyes about ten minutes to adjust and function. We all ended up having an extraordinary star gazing experience.

Our eyes had so adjusted to the darkness that when someone flashed a little flashlight in our direction, our eyes did a double take. And when it came time for us to huddle up again under the bright light in the picnic shelter, our eyes were blurs of spots and flashes of light for some time.

I couldn’t imagine being out in the darkness and seeing much more than a flashlight or a light bulb. I can’t imagine how I might have reacted had it been much more.

But in the darkest of dark, out in the open fields lacking the protection of a town, an angel of the Lord appeared to a group of shepherds. And if the angel wasn’t enough, the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were terrified. (Luke 2:9)

Grown men. Strong men. Men used to being in the dark of the night, terrified. Stricken not just by the appearance of an angel but by the very presence the living God, Yahweh. His glory, the glory of the one and only, shone around them. Encompassing them. Surrounding them. Shattering the silence and piercing through the darkness of 400 years of his silence and absence to his people.

In our present day that would be about 4 generations. Could you imagine trying to hold onto and pass down your faith without experiencing the reality of God in your life and hearing his voice impressed on your soul? I don’t think my faith would make it.

But that night was a majestic, providential, heaven and earth shaking night! It changed ALL of eternity, ALL of mankind!

We have heard the Christmas story read so many times our hearts are often disengaged from its significance. Don’t let that be your reality this Christmas season.

Think about it. Dwell on it. Imagine being a shepherd in the darkest of dark. Where the threat of wild animals, coldness, and the elements made you rejoice at the mornings’ dawn that you have made it through another night.

And on that night, WOW! The Lord appeared to YOU! He broke his silence to 4 generations to YOU! And his GLORY SHONE around YOU! His presence was with YOU! You got to stare into His blinding light that was illuminating spiritual darkness and bringing hope to each and every person to walk the earth. WOW! Treasure the significance of the season and ponder the power of the presence of Immanuel, God with us.


Note: All blog posts in December are part of a Christmas Devotionals series. If you don’t want to miss the true reason for the season, subscribe in the upper right of my website on the home page and each time I post (which is pretty scattered and infrequent in the busyness of the season) and it will be sent right to your email inbox. Merry Christmas!



Photo from

About Erin Nicole Thompson

Erin Nicole Thompson is a fun-loving and authentic momma to 4 littles, wife of a ruggedly handsome Pastor, and as she likes to think, the CEO of her home operations. She delights in worship, cooking with good music, the sweet faces of her sleeping children, adult conversations, and some quiet time at Starbucks. She loves to serve alongside, encourage, and equip young and seasoned women. Erin is grateful to be part of what God is doing at The Chapel, a multi-campus church in Northern Chicago-land where her husband, Dave, pastors the Lake Zurich Campus. Presently, she lives to dream and follow God as he writes her story.

  • rachelrusticus

    Hey Erin! Just popping by to encourage you in the new year…it is a fresh beginning, full of grace. Praying you keep writing here & influencing so many with your joy and strength. Amen.

    • Thank you Rachel for you words…they spur me on to make the time to write. Many blessings to you this new year! :)Erin