When the Lights Go on Again all over the World


“Quick, turn off all the lights!” Daddy called to everyone in our home.

I felt the mixture of fear and excitement that many little girls feel in the dark, even when surrounded by family.

We were suddenly in a World War 2 blackout drill. I heard the now-familiar series of intermittent siren blasts. Air-raid wardens who supervised the blackout drills cruised silently in their cars without lights up and down neighborhood streets to make sure everyone complied. By early 1943, there were over 6 million volunteers who served as air raid wardens.

Blackout drills were planned in advance and advertised. Streetlights were turned off at the scheduled time. Anyone outside was instructed to take cover inside. Those in their homes quickly pulled down the shades on their windows and extinguished all lights inside. Bicycles of boys returning home from paper routes could be sensed only by the creak of their pedals and chains. People in cars pulled over and found shelter in the nearest building. For several minutes an eerie silence hovered over the land.

The idea was that enemy planes couldn't target what they couldn't see, and that any light visible from above could attract bombs and gunfire. In the event that our little town in New York State ever heard enemy planes overhead, we all wanted to be prepared.

It was an anxious time and not without heartache. One afternoon after receiving the dreaded news, Aunt Martha, dazed and grieving, replaced the blue star in her window with a gold one. Her oldest son lost his life heroically in the Battle of Normandy when, as sergeant, he went to retrieve the wounded body of one of his men and received wounds that took his own life. He died in his foxhole.

Peering through a corner of our window into the blackness of the night during the blackout, I saw a light! A neighbor stood on his front porch smoking a cigarette. I couldn’t believe it. Instantly, a warden who was walking the street in dark clothing descended on our neighbor and ordered him to extinguish his cigarette.

Standing beside me at the window and looking into the blackness, Daddy leaned over as I whispered in his ear, “How could the warden see that tiny cigarette so far away?”

Daddy replied, “Because, the blacker the night, the brighter the light.”

Soon the “all-clear” siren sounded and lights were turned back on in every house for as far as we could see. We were safe. It was only a drill.

More than any other illustration I have ever known, those few words, “The blacker the night, the brighter the light” have impressed in me the significance of the Light of the World in Jesus Christ. The gentle, though powerful, Light that indwells Christ is so compelling that it has drawn millions, even billions to a saving relationship with Him. That Light permeates the darkest jungles of Africa or the Far East to break down every blinding idol and free the lives of the enslaved. There is no other Light to compare; none holds its power, none makes its claims.

As Christians, we cannot create any light of our own but we can reflect the glory of God’s Light. We are the light-bearers who are called to bring the Light of the gospel to a dark and anxious world. All God asks of us is a willing, clean vessel into which He can pour His lamp oil. He could have chosen ten thousand angels, but instead He chose lowly man to carry His Light into all the world.

Out of the stresses of World War 2, a new popular song garnered much air time. “When The Lights Go On Again All Over The World” stuck a hopeful chord in the heart of everyone who heard it and longed for the day when the war would end, the conflict over and a measure of peace would settle on the land once again. Long endured separations became a memory as loved ones returned from battle to resume their places in their homes. Things which had been set on hold were picked up again as families regained their sense of normalcy.

Similarly, there is a great day coming when Jesus Himself will dispel the darkness in which His church has had to operate He will flood the heavens and the earth with his shekinah glory and return just as He promised. Every eye shall see Him! What a day that will be for all those who look for His appearing, “when His light goes on again, all over the world!”

Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Mariane Holbrook is a retired teacher, an author of two books, a musician and artist. She lives with her husband on coastal North Carolina. She maintains a personal website www.marianholbrook.com and welcomes your Emails at Mariane777@bellsouth.net.

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