We ventured out to visit a friend and sat on his deck, watching the sunset.
The streams of golden light pierced the cedars and glanced across the still water of the lake.
It was, like most sunsets, simply stunning.
Everyone has some memory of a sunset. Yours may have been on a beach, in the mountains or on your porch. You may have been alone or with someone you loved.
Regardless, you remember the exact blue of the sky and its cast of clouds refracting the fiery hues of the sun’s descent. You haven’t forgotten the awe that grandeur inspired.
There were sunrises as well. Whether a late night or an early awakening, the first peek of that glowing orb was pure joy as the purple-robed heavens ignited with a conflagration of color unique to that new day.
All the world’s majesty and mystery, beauty and grace were somehow compacted into that rising or setting sun.
We remember because we were moved, humbled, but also claimed by something unbounded and eternal.
Sunrise and sunset can transport us to what feels like the very heart of it all, to the very throne of God.
But the time right before the sun appears and right after it departs has its own power, ushering us inward instead.
The “twi” in twilight comes from Old English, meaning both double and half. It is both night and day, half of the light and half of the darkness. In Sanskrit, the word for twilight (“samdhyal”) meant a holding together.
In dim light, the pupil dilates to help us see more clearly.
In the evening twilight, I find myself seeing the details of my day. I recall the people I encountered, the little things that I did or did not do for others, words I said or should have.
No matter how bad my day, I always find some gratitude in that waning light.
Morning twilight is different. Waiting for the sun, I am drawn to think about the coming day.
It begins with my plans, but something in that time between night and day urges me to consider how I might go about them in a way that helps, thanks, encourages or consoles others.
It gives me hope that after the sun comes up, my kindness may be more intentional than random.
Jesus went out to pray “early in the morning while it was still dark” and “into the hills” of an evening.
Twilight may be why.