What a relief that we can now see the days getting longer and longer. We really do long for the light, don’t we? During the dark days of winter people talk of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) whose cause is not fully understood but is often linked to reduced exposure to sunlight. Is there anything gloomier than going to work and coming home in the dark?
Thank goodness that is becoming a memory now as the days lengthen. Ash Wednesday on 6 March begins the forty days and forty nights of Lent. Like the word ‘Easter’, ‘Lent’ does not occur in the Bible. They are both Anglo-Saxon words, ‘lent’ referring to the lengthening of the days.
We thrive in the light, just as plants stretch towards the light. It encourages life. Increased light and warmth cause the Spring plants to burst into life. Not for nothing did Jesus call himself ‘the Light of the World’.
The gloom leaves us as we move from Winter to Spring. And the Christian journey which we are all on is a movement from darkness into light. The Bible goes so far as to define a Christian as someone God has called from darkness into his marvellous light (1 Peter 2.9).
The world is a dark place at the present time. It is dark with its wars, its injustice, poverty and cruelty, because it has rejected Jesus the Light. Without Jesus there is no light or life or love or truth, because he alone is their source. But we Christians have been given hope of a better future, because God has promised that one day Christ will come again in judgement and there will be a new heaven and a new earth where there will be no more tears, or death or pain. We are reaching out to that hope ‘as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts’. What a wonderful promise that verse from 2 Peter 1.19 holds out to us!
While returning to his brother Esau whom he had cheated years ago, Jacob was detained at the Jabbok river, so we learn in Genesis 32. That night in very mysterious circumstances he wrestled with God as he tried to cross over the river to rejoin his family who had gone on ahead. This strange struggle with God went on all night. By the morning Jacob was exhausted and he noticed that he had been injured in his hip. We read that as the sun arose on that new day, he now limped. And is that not a bad description of us Christians, is it? We are not any better than anyone. We claim no superiority. We are simply people limping towards the dawn.
After Lent, we have Easter to celebrate. I cannot imagine what it is like to be a person who knows nothing of the joy and hope and victory of Easter. We Christians are limping towards the dawn of the new age begun at Easter.
God bless you and your loved ones this Spring time.
Very sincerely Yours,