City slickers in places like Atlanta and New York City boast about their big city lights. They even write songs and books about it.  Frank Sinatra crooned people into a tizzy when he sang about New York, New York. He said it was a place where people don’t ever sleep – I guess not with all those lights on all the time! Personally, I can only sleep with the lights off!

Recently, something possessed me to pick up and read a novel about New York called Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney. He’s a great writer who can tell a pretty good story. But, boy howdy, those city people get themselves into some pretty interesting situations with all those bright lights keeping them up all the time.  You’d think they’d see trouble coming with all that light.  Apparently not. Maybe sometimes too much light is a bad thing. Or maybe it’s the wrong kind of light.

Which brings me to Western North Carolina.  On Summer nights, there’s a kind of light here you can't so easily see in the big city. I’m talking about the lights of the summer night sky. Out here where we live, most nights, when we look up, we’re likely to see something city slickers with their fancy high rises, expensive cars and high fashion rarely see. On these nights, God invites us to behold a canopy of stars that stretch upward toward infinity and beyond. And sometimes, in the quietest of moments, these lights appear to twinkle and dance.  It’s as though the heavens themselves are having a party up there.

This time of year, people spend gobs of money traveling to exotic destinations to experience the spectacle of bright lights in the big city. And yet, for those of us who live in Western Carolina the best show of the season is happening here, right outside nightly, overhead in the majesty of our Carolina sky.

So tonight, weather permitting, if you're blessed to be in Western Carolina or in the country somewhere, I encourage you to set aside thirty minutes, turn off your house lights and step outside and take a look up.  A show awaits you that displays the infinite grace of God and the power of God’s created lights that are always with us – lights far more powerful and beautiful than man-made lights anywhere.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” Psalm 19

Pastor Frank Waugh
Amazing Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church
Granite Falls, North Carolina