Wednesday, December 21, 2011

swift to its close ebbs out life's little day: meditations for the shortest day

22 December is the shortest day in 2011, when the hours of sunlight are fewest and the sun follows its lowest arc through the sky.  Our life is but a brief day, the briefest of days. Time is short and eternity is very long. Each day represents a life in miniature and the opportunities of that life in miniature. The shortest day perhaps best represents our brief sojourn here.

"Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth." John 12:35

"Eternity to the godly is a day that has no sunset; eternity to the wicked is a night that has no sunrise."
—Thomas Watson

"I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work." John 9:4

"Our life is our day, in which it concerns us to do the work of the day. We must be busy, and not waste day-time; it will be time to rest when our day is done, for it is but a day. The approach of death should quicken us to improve all our opportunities of doing and getting good. What good we have an opportunity to do, we should do quickly. And he that will never do a good work till there is nothing to be objected against, will leave many a good work for ever undone, Ec 11:4."
—Matthew Henry

"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." - Eccl. 9:10

"Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart." Psalm 97:11

"A good man must be like the sun; not like Hezekiah's sun that went backward, nor like Joshua's sun that stood still; but like David's sun, that as a bridegroom comes out of his chamber, and as a champion rejoiceth to run his race. Only herein is the difference, that when he comes to his high noon, he declineth not".
—Joseph Hall

"For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding". 1 Chronicles 29:15

"LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am.
Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.
Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them". Psalm 39:4-6

"among the many things that a Christian should know, he should know this main and advantageous thing, the brevity of his life, and of his appointed time upon the earth. O study to know this more... We conceive this handbreadth is the breadth of one of our hands; it is one of the measures we carry about with us; it is the breadth of four fingers, which relates to these four times of man’s life, his infancy, his youth, his mid-age, and his old age; or it may relate to these four times, his morning, fore-noon, mid-day, and his evening, all of which but amounts to one day... the distinct knowledge of our time that we have upon the earth is a strong encouragement to us for the bearing of the cross and afflicting dispensations that we meet with, with much patience and submission unto God....the brevity and shortness of our life speaks the great love and matchless delight that God has to sinners. He is longing for the day when all the redeemed of the Lord shall be with Him, there to remain for ever and ever to enjoy all delights, and all manner of soul-pleasures. O when shall that day come, when we shall be brought out from this earthly tabernacle of clay, and shall enter our possessions in that blessed tabernacle not made with hands? 0 long for that day, And yet we should be submissive unto God’s dispensation and good pleasure, and we should not challenge Him for the brevity and shortness of our lifetime here".
—Andrew Gray