If any verse in the Bible would convince me that some Scriptures must not be taken literally, it would be Revelation 21:25. In describing the new, heavenly city, we are told: “There will be no night there.” I can’t get along without night!
Darkness and night are often used as symbolic representations of evil. We are told that “…people loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19) Let’s for the moment escape from that kind of figurative speech, and think how wonderful it is when the day ends, the sun goes down, and the quiet shadows of night bring an end to the work of the day.
“Day is done. Gone the sun. From the lake, from the hills, from the sky. All is well. Safely rest. God is nigh.” (Taps.)
One year I was a counselor at a junior high camp in a mountainous setting. Some of the young people were from the city. One night I stepped outside our cabin late at night with a young boy and he looked up at the sky. Millions of stars were visible; the Milky Way was spread out and the Big Dipper was bright. He gasped and exclaimed: “I never saw the stars before!”
When I was a boy in the South, I slept much of the year in a screened back porch. As the light faded, the large trees in the distance blended together until they looked like a mountain. I spent many a night gazing at those mountains until sleep came. And if there was a lightning storm, no Fourth of July fireworks display could ever equal it.
Once we get away from competing lights, we sometimes see a falling star or even the Northern Lights if we are very lucky. Perhaps a comet streaks across the sky.
If we go to bed in peace, sometimes before sleep comes there are thoughts and memories that comfort or inspire us.
Several times I have had a thought that was so important to me that I got out of bed and wrote it down, because I was afraid once I went to sleep again I would forget it.
When we deprive ourselves of sleep we don’t give our brains the chance to provide some guidance from our subconscious. Or, to put that a different way, to listen to God.
Why do we fight going to bed so much when we are younger? Fortunately, as one ages, bedtime becomes more desirable. And nothing enhances restful sleep more than darkness.
Psalm 127:2 says that God “… giveth his beloved sleep.” But another translation of that same verse reads “… he gives to his beloved in sleep.” I think both are true. And night makes sleep easier, at least for most people. I don’t want any lights at all.
Some years ago, Smithsonian magazine had an article about night, reminding us that before electricity it was truly dark at night, darker than we may ever experience. People went to bed at sunset, but often arose in the middle of the night for a few hours, then went back to bed again. In those quiet times there was danger from thieves, but also time for wonderful, unrushed conversations.
No, I wouldn’t want a heaven without night. As the day comes to an end, let’s be grateful for the repose that is the gift of a darkened sky.