Not the eventual setting of sun at long day’s end, but the days, weeks, months, when the sun begins to rise later and later and leave us earlier and earlier until finally, we come to expect a hasty dusk near the same time neighborhood children hop off the school bus.
I battle the shadow of heaviness, sadness during winter months. It’s a weakness, and if I lived further north I might have to invest in one of those “light boxes” that cost a fortune but keep people afloat in extended darkness.
Of course, I’m ready for long pants and campfires and leaves flying. A break from the sauna days of summer. Thankful for an artist God who gives refreshment and delight from one season to the next.
Winter just isn’t my personal favorite.
Mornings may smell like coffee, and we'll curl up cozily for early morning reading. But as hours go by, if the sky stays gray…I miss the light, and my internal brightness fades.
“I am the moon with no light of my own, still you have made me to shine…and as I glow in this cold, dark night, I know I cannot be a light unless I turn my face to you.”
In May, my doctor told me I was deficient in vitamin D, which our skin absorbs from direct sunlight (primarily). The body needs to be in the light to be well. And in the summer sun, our skin glows a healthy pink and gold.
Isn’t it also this way with the spirit?
Weren’t we created for spring? Aren’t we citizens of a country where there is NO darkness and everything is illuminated?
Deep down, do we understand that darkness is the absence of light? Darkness means...something is missing.
The other side of this thought-train is that our Creator left us trails and trails of beauty to discover and celebrate during the long months of waiting the return of the sun.
And the very Holy Spirit of God is here in the waiting with us. Our Comforter.
Last night we took our butternut squash soup (tastier than you might think) and candles to the back deck after nightfall. I watched as the faces around the table lit up golden behind the flames. Prayer, laughter, retelling of stories read, filling of stomachs.
And I think: This is how we stay bright during the long night.
We gather together, break bread and always always always keep the candle of Truth lit in the center.
We must always keep the Savior and His love and his sacrifice and forgiveness and faithfulness and His one-day-returning-like-spring right there in the center of our togetherness.
A flashlight isn’t a flame. Positive thinking isn’t a flame. Health is not the flame. Money is no flame. Beautiful acts of kindness are not the flame. Pleasure isn’t the flame. Even community itself is not the flame.
But He who was and is and is to come…is worthy of gathering around.
Every good thing we put in the center of the table in His place will leave us cold.
But HE...will make His face to SHINE upon us and be GRACIOUS to us...through every dark day from now til spring.