Barnegat Lighthouse, NJ, photo by Chuck Turk
And the great ships sail outward and return,
Bending and bowing o’er the billowy swells,
And ever joyful, as they see it burn,
They wave their silent welcomes and farewells.
They come forth from the darkness, and their sails
Gleam for a moment only in the blaze,
And eager faces, as the light unveils,
Gaze at the tower, and vanish while they gaze.
The mariner remembers when a child,
On his first voyage, he saw it fade and sink;
And when, returning from adventures wild,
He saw it rise again o’er ocean’s brink.
Steadfast, serene, immovable, the same
Year after year, through all the silent night
Burns on forevermore that quenchless flame,
Shines on that inextinguishable light!
You might recognize the line in the first stanza that came from the Bible: “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.” Exodus 13:21. Apparently, Longfellow saw how lighthouses mirror God’s guidance. You can celebrate that light everyday.