Sunrise, Sunset and the Sea Between
“Then God said, let the water beneath the oceans be gathered into Oceans. …So, God created great sea animals, and every sort of fish, and every kind of bird. And God looked at them with pleasure… That ended the fifth day.” Genesis 1:9, 22-23 (The Living Bible)
(First morning. First sighting of Panama sunrise)
My husband and I spent Christmas in Panama. It was our first Christmas away. Yes. Lucky us.
We missed the “deep freeze” storm the Friday before. We also missed the misery of delayed flights that made some passengers sleep on the floor at airports then arrive home eventually without luggage. In contrast we had two extra days in paradise seeing sunrise and sunset over the sea.
Every morning in Panama we woke early and walked the beach, gazing at the sun rising and spreading warmth over the Pacific. Every evening we watched the sun departing, leaving a glow in the west. Was it the fact that I was on holiday (holy days), that I sensed the sacredness of each day? Maybe. I fell in love with this cycle of sunrise, sunset, and the sea between.
It was there in Panama that I began the habit of seeing and celebrating each sunrise and sunset. The habit returned with me to the suburb of Pickering, Ontario. Alas, there’s no ocean view here. When I look out my window, there’s only a row of brown rooftops stretching down the street. Some mornings I rise early enough and catch an orange-red sun peeking shyly over cold rooftops. Some mornings, the sunrise is invisible. Some evenings sunsets are “nothing to write home about” even as I hear the Canada geese honk and flap their way back keeping their V-shaped line intact.
And yet, on Day 5 of a new year, I’m still in awe of the fact that “the sun also rises” even if It’s damp and foggy as it was this morning.
You might ask, so what? What’s this awe about seeing an ordinary everyday natural occurrence?
Aaah, my friend. Sunrise and sunset signal reliability and dependability, the constant amid uncertainty, light in the darkness. Think about this—no matter what happens or doesn’t happen in your life, sunrise and sunset will happen for the remaining 360 days of 2023.
So, on Day 5 of the new year, I celebrate the signs of morning and evening. I celebrate the fact that despite chaos, and daily crises, Someone turns on the lights in the morning and dims them at dusk to make way for the moon to rise later than noon and ensures light is there again at dawn. There’s order. There’s “beauty up above.” There’s God. There's goodness. There’s faith and faith matters.
What’s sparking joy for you? How are you doing on Day 5 or Day 6 by the time you read this? I tell myself that the moments that make each day will make a week that will make a month that will make a year.
I want to be intentional about joy and wonder this year. So, I ponder the line in the creation account that says, “God looked on them with pleasure.” I imagine a smile. I imagine a sunrise and sunset between palms, and I see the sea between.
(Sun setting--slowly at Playa Blanca, Panama)
(My husband enjoying a Panamanian sunrise)