I didn’t want to step outside.

I cracked open my screen door and hesitated.  I can’t remember the last time I watched the sunrise -I can’t remember if there has ever been a first time.  I woke up this morning determined to watch it -determined to see what I KNEW to be a glorious and beautiful transformation of nature.

But there I stood on the precipice of my personal morning devotional… scared.  I’ve always been afraid of the dark, and I began to doubt if my determination to see the sunrise was enough to get me to step over the line between the comfort of my warm home to the darkness that enveloped my front yard.

With a deep breath, I gripped my quart-size mason jar filled with hot herbal tea, straightened the beenie I crocheted for my husband last year (which he insisted on plunking on my head as I dressed this morning), and I took that first step.

I could barely see a thing.  I looked around for a source of light and found only stars, those “rulers of the night” who persist in feigning the glory of the sun.  They barely glimmered enough light to make themselves known, save one.

One stood out above all the rest.  His glow was far brighter, far stronger than all the rest, yet it was not nearly bright enough.  I looked out on the horizon and saw a hope of a sunrise, and that was enough to satisfy me for the moment.  I gripped my hot tea close to my body and looked around.  In the darkness, there was little movement.  The last few stubborn leaves of fall clung to my trees, rustling in the very slight breeze.  There were no birds singing -no birds flying.  I looked back to the horizon and saw little change.

I folded my arms and asked my Father in Heaven to help me see the beauty of the sunrise -to fully FEEL of it.  I closed my prayer, opened my eyes, and the horizon was glowing brighter.

I looked to the sky and noticed the stars had seemed to vanish completely.  The soft glow of promised sunlight was enough to beat them into silent submission.  In earnest, I looked for the brightest of the stars.  He was still making his presence very much known -still clinging on in the foolish hope that he would come off conquerer.

A movement on my left caught my eye, and I turned to see a bird flying low to the ground as if to test the first light.  The morning breeze picked up, and I took sips from my warm tea in hopes that my body would store up some heat.

The colors of the horizon continued to shift and change, and I watched.

The distant clouds radiated indescribable hues of pinks, golds, blues, and violets.  It was breathtaking.  I fixated my eyes on it, giving myself up to it’s spell-like state.

How is the stubborn star fending? I wondered.  Glancing up, I saw that he had diminished to a tiny fleck, but still glowing.  How badly I wanted to tell him to fade, to give up.  He looked so sad, standing up against the unconquerable force of the Sun.

All at once, I became aware of the freezing temperature around me. Had it actually gotten colder?  I sipped on my tepid tea, and shifted my weight from one leg to the other.  The thought came to me to just… go inside.  Give up.  The sun would rise tomorrow and the next day and the next week and the next year.

Why should you endure it today? The stubborn star seemed to ask.

Had I endured the initial fear of darkness and the bitterness of cold to simply turn back now?  Now?  Just when the Sun was so close I felt as if I could climb a tree and SEE it?

No, I shook my head at the faint star.

No, I will not give up.  I will stand to see you fail.  I will stand to see the Sun.

In a sudden stroke of genius put on by the utter lack of bodily warmth, I put my cold herbal tea down, sipped my thick leather coat up, and began walking.  I turned and walked toward the Sun.

The early morning wind picked up more speed, biting at my face.  I found a safe place to shield me from the wind and offer me a better view of the Sun and waited.  The dim star begged me to return indoors.

I refused to yield, though my resolve was weakening.  I glanced around to see more birds flying, but now they had lifted themselves high off the ground.  The Sun had instilled confidence in their flight.  In the distance, a rooster crowed.  As if the Chorus of the Birds had taken it as their cue, their quiet, soothing sounds permeated the silence of morning.

I stretched out my frame -stretching it out until it was AS TALL as it could be.  I fixed my eyes on the horizon and strained to see…

And there He was.  Rising up against the darkness of night, the Sun transformed the earth with his brilliance.  I took in a deep, satisfying breath.

The fear I had felt upon leaving my front door was completely wiped away, and I took the short walk back home with all of the confidence in the world.  Just as I turned away, I looked up.

The Star was barely discernable in the sky, flickering out his last lights before succumbing to the Sun’s extinguishing powers.  He had lost, but he meant to rise again.

And he will rise again.  Every night, he’ll come out to rule.

But how pathetic is the kingdom he rules -how short-lived is his reign.

There is hope smiling brightly before him and behind him, and that hope is greater than he.  That hope is greater than little me.  That hope is the reason life comes out and fear dissipates.

That hope is the reason I have confidence in today.