All of You are Children of Light

What is Paul talking about when he speaks of some people who are “in darkness” and “of the night” while others are “children of the light and children of the day”?

This is an important question because Paul is laying out before us two paths, two ways of living. In Deuteronomy, we can read Moses’ appeal to the children of Israel centuries earlier to consider these two paths carefully. “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity…. I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors” (Deuteronomy 30:15, 20).

In the Teton Wilderness in northwestern Wyoming is a little forest stream called Two Ocean Creek. This small creek is one of the most unusual features of the Continental Divide, where everything on its western slope flows into the Colorado River and empties eventually into the Pacific Ocean, and everything on its eastern slope flows into the Mississippi River and dumps eventually into the Atlantic Ocean. Two Ocean Creek is the only creek in America that flows into two oceans. Hikers can splash their hands in the creek and determine which drops of water head west and which begin to slope toward the east.

Life is like that. There are choices between east and west, this career or continuing education, living here and living there… And, as our First Reading reminds us, between life and death, light and darkness. 

We are not at the mercy of gravity like the water in Two Ocean Creek. Both Moses and Paul are telling us that we have the power to make choices. Some seem as insignificant as the small stream on The Continental Divide. But the paths we take lead us into light and into dark, into the day and into the night.

Paul says that the children of the night are those who say, “Peace and security,” finding their salvation and their fulfillment entirely on this earth. Their memory, desires, will, and thoughts are taken up with things that satisfy them here and now. It is these people that are surprised by the coming of the Lord like a thief in the night, and what happens is a disaster to them.

Paul tells the Thessalonians: “Stay alert, do not sleep for God has destined us to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that we may live together with him.”

Dumitru Stăniloae, in Orthodox Dogmatic Theology: The Experience of God, describes children of the light with these words: “the faces of the saints even here on earth have something of the eschatological plane of eternity in their appearance, that plane through which God’s features will be fully reflected, and his energies will radiate” (page 22).

Christ is the Day, the radiance of the Father’s glory. As children of the day and of the light, we reflect the glory which shone from him on Mount Tabor in his Transfiguration. “For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Contact the author

Sr. Kathryn J. HermesKathryn James Hermes, FSP, is the author of the newly released title: Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments, by Pauline Books and Media. An author and spiritual mentor, she offers spiritual accompaniment for the contemporary Christian’s journey towards spiritual growth and inner healing. She is the director of My Sisters, where people can find spiritual accompaniment from the Daughters of St. Paul on their journey. Website: Public Facebook Group: For monthly spiritual journaling guides, weekly podcasts and over 50 conferences and retreat programs join my Patreon community:

Feature Image Credit: Carlos Danial,