In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1:4-5, NIV)
As the eight travelers prepare to leave the elven forest of Lothlórien towards the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, Galadriel bestows special gifts upon each member of the company. To Frodo she gives something particularly useful: “‘In this phial,’ she said, ‘is caught the light of Eärendil’s star, set amid the waters of my fountain. It will shine still brighter when night is about you. May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.’”
Much later in the journey, as Frodo nears his destination in Mordor, he and Sam find themselves in the darkest place they have ever encountered as they follow Gollum through a tunnel that he tells them is a shortcut to their destination. They are about to despair of ever escaping the vile blackness when suddenly Sam is reminded of what Frodo carries and urges his master to bring it out. As Frodo holds the Star-Glass aloft, “the darkness receded from it, until it seemed to shine in the centre of a globe of airy crystal, and the hand that held it sparkled with white fire. Frodo gazed in wonder at this marvellous gift that he had so long carried, not guessing its full worth and potency.” The power of this little bit of Elven light in the blackness of Shelob’s lair drives the great spider away from them and allows them to find the path through to the other side of the tunnel.
Even the tiniest of lights is powerful in a dark place. Whenever we walk in darkness, may we never forget the power of the Light of the World to show us the way safely to the other side, even when we feel like the Light is distant and small. And if we have forgotten the Light, may we always have with us a friend to help us remember.