“In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:4 BSB)
In Iceland sunlight is always at a premium. I remember a visitor once joking that the Icelandic word for “sun” was actually a surprised “Whoa!” since there seemed to be so little of it. “Skammdegi” (“short day”) is how Icelanders refer to the days around winter solstice. To compensate, the Christmas season is festive with candles and other lights. When skammdegi begins to recede and the days get longer, people and animals will use every opportunity to sit or stand outside with their faces toward the sun, soaking in its rays, like plants turning toward the light. After the long, dark winter the sun’s brilliance actually meets a physically-felt need.
Sunlight is, of course, an important part of the ecosystem in which we live. A healthy environment for humans includes appropriate portions of light, heat, water, nourishment, and shelter. The spiritual parallels are obvious. Author James Stewart (A Man in Christ) reminds us, “Christ is the redeemed person’s new environment ... He or she has been transplanted into a new soil and a new climate and both soil and climate are Christ.”
As I reflect on this I remind myself then that Jesus Christ is the ecosystem in which I live. He is the soil in which I’m planted, the water that hydrates me, the air I breathe and the sun of my soul. Just as we would turn our sun-starved faces to that glowing orb at the end of skammdegi season, so my heart needs to “unfold like a flower, opening to the Sun above” every morning. No wonder Jesus tells us to “remain in Him,” for outside of Him my soul finds itself on a moon’s cold, dark side, a habitat less than conducive for supporting spiritual life.
An elderly friend shared with me recently that she sits sometimes and prays, “Lord, here I am again, down in the dumps. And I’m not moving from this chair until you restore to me the joy, peace, and hope that You have promised.” “And,” she added tearfully, “He always does.”
Sun of my soul, my Savior dear
It is not night if You are near
Oh may no earthborn cloud arise
To hide Thee from Thy servant’s eyes.
- John Keeble
Warmly in Christ,
“For with you is the fountain of life, in your light we see light.”
(Psalm 36:9 NIV)
What does it mean to me that “in Jesus is life and that life is the light” for others?
What “clouds” may be hiding the Lord’s face from me today?
When and where can I soon go to soak up some of the soul’s Sun that I need so desperately?