On August 21, 2017, my hometown of Columbia, SC was abuzz with the Total Eclipse Event. The last one on record was 99 years ago, so this once-in-a-life-time event was a pretty big deal, not only in South Carolina, but also across the globe. Thousands of people poured into our city and around our state to see it firsthand. Around 8100 people filled the Riverbanks Zoo area alone, and thousands more were uptown, downtown and all around town.
At precisely 1:13 pm, the eclipse began. A tiny sliver of the moon greeted the radiant light of the sun. Soon, the moon and the sun would be completely face-to-face.
My husband and I had our licensed and approved viewing glasses ready. With beach chairs set up in the yard and the charcoal heating up for a late lunch, we were prepared to watch the eclipse unfold right before our eyes. Once the moon was directly in front of the sun it would darken the sun’s light for about three minutes.
From about 2:42 pm – 2:45 pm, it happened – The Total Eclipse Event. For approximately 180 seconds we watched in awe and utter amazement. This is what everyone had been waiting for, talking about and planning for. For months you couldn’t turn on the television or radio without hearing something about the Total Eclipse Event. Our city, churches, neighborhoods and businesses were more than prepared for the flood of people who showed up to see this miraculous moment in history.
And then, it was over.
What I took note of was the fact that everyone from near and far stood still. For a brief moment in history, it seemed the whole world was looking up, watching the glorious handiwork of God, our Creator and Savior, whether they wanted to acknowledge Him or not.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world (Psalm 19:1-4a ESV).
Every single day and night proclaims the glory of our God. Throughout the ages, eyes have been drawn to the skies for sightings of intrigue and great wonder.
One of the most magnificent over the last 2000 years was the night the Messiah was born. Stargazers had been paying close attention to the stars for centuries. On that sacred, holy night, a spectacular star received their utmost attention.
At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
– Philippians 2:10-11
The Wise Men followed the brilliant star as ordered by King Herod. They traveled about two years before they came face to face with the Christ child. After bowing, worshiping and laying extravagant gifts at His feet, an angel warned them in a dream to return to their homeland by a different route so King Herod could not thwart God’s plan already in motion.
Then again, on the day Jesus was crucified, all eyes looked up and watched. At the sixth hour, the sky turned dark. At the ninth hour, when Jesus breathed His last breath, the earth shook, rocks were split, tombs were opened and dead people were raised to life. The temple veil guarding the Holy of Holies was ripped in two, and what Jesus was born to do was finished. The sin debt for all mankind was paid in full.
After the Resurrection of Christ, He appeared to the women at the tomb, the disciples, and thousands more over the course of 40 days. Then, once again, eyes were drawn back to the skies. After Jesus gave instructions of how to proceed without Him physically among them, promising to send the Holy Spirit and to return again one day, Christ ascended into heaven where He sits at the right hand of the Father interceding on behalf of all who believe.
Still, there’s another heavenly event in the making. It can’t be tracked to the exact day or hour which only the Father knows. But all through Scripture, seasons and signs of the times are spoken about so we’ll pay attention, remain alert, look up and live with great expectation and anticipation. When the trumpet sounds, the whole world will hear, and Jesus Christ will come back through the clouds. Every eye will not only look up this time, but every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).
Until then, the prince of darkness, the enemy of the Light, will continue to move forward with great force seeking to cover up the Light, distracting our eyes from looking up. But believers, called to be salt and light in the world, must continue to pay attention to what the heavens are telling, proclaim the Good News with courage and confidence through the power of the Holy Spirit, and make disciples.
We are also called to abide in Christ while we wait expectantly for His return. Through prayer and meditating on His Word day and night, we grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior and mature in our faith. To proclaim Him, we must abide in Him.
And He [Jesus] said to me [John], “Do not seal up the words of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy. Behold, I am coming soon, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
– Revelation 22:10-12A, 13 ESV
As awesome as all of these heavenly events have been, a guiding star… a darkened sky… an ascending Savior… the recent Total Eclipse, nothing will compare to what the return of Jesus Christ, the Light of the world will be like. The heavens are declaring the glory of God! So, look up people! Ready or not, He’s coming back!
Melanie Shull is a writer, blogger, and speaker. ‘Tis the season to find her under a blanket, sipping coffee, watching football, and decorating all things Christmas.