I remember flying up to Scotland for the first time, together with my wife. It was around 3pm on a December day. We could not believe our eyes when the sun started setting half-way through the afternoon! We soon learned that, this far north, the days are long in the summer but the nights are long in the winter.
Many people struggle with the long winter nights, especially as, during some days, the sun barely seems to make it above the horizon. Some people even struggle so deeply that they receive a diagnosis for it, ‘Seasonal Affective Disorder’ (SAD). The lack of sunlight has a physical effect and causes people to feel down. It also affects people’s minds and feelings. People with a tendency towards depression find that their struggles are exacerbated during these dark winter months.
One way of treating SAD is through light therapy. As people are exposed to artificial light, which mimics the sunlight, their bodies respond, and their mood improves. How great is that?
I believe that this physical principle illustrates a deeper spiritual one. In the physical world God has given us the sun to keep us warm and its light brings a sense of well-being. That is how our bodies are made to relate to the rest of the physical universe. But we are more than just bodies, God has also given us a soul and a spirit. And spiritually we are as much in need of light as we are physically.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world”. Spiritually speaking, we could say that He is our sun. He gives us warmth, and His light brings us everything we need for spiritual health. The question is: do we expose ourselves sufficiently to His light?
Unlike the sun, Jesus is always there, whether it be summer, winter, spring or fall. He never hides behind the horizon. His brilliance never lessens. But we may need to make a conscious effort to be in His light. We need to gaze at His brilliance. How do we do this?
First and foremost, by looking up instead of down. We turn our heart toward heaven. I find that most people who struggle with life have their focus either too much on themselves (inward) or on the problems in this world (outward). Instead, the focus of our heart needs to be upward. The gaze of our soul needs to be fixed on Jesus.
When we worship Him, we are especially focussed upward, and He has a chance to shine His light into our hearts. This does not make all our earthly problems disappear, but it does have a powerful effect on us. We truly start seeing things in a different light. His light gives us hope. It empowers us and lifts our mood.
Prayer: Father God, I thank You for giving us the sun for warmth and light. I also thank You for giving us Jesus. Please help me to fix my gaze on Him, to worship Him and to receive His light into my heart. In Your name, Amen.
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