“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.” (Isaiah 60:1-3)
When I was a child, I loved winter. I couldn’t wait for winter’s first snowfall, and have lots of treasured memories of building snowmen and having snowball fights. As I’ve gotten older, however, I’ve battled mild seasonal depression at this time of year. The cold and darkness seem to amplify the blues for many of us.
I’ve learned there are some practical things I can do to combat
those blues, including prayer, getting outside during daylight hours, staying active, and seeking help from others if the depression deepens. I’ve also learned to recognize that God is at work, speaking in the darkness – because the darkness is not dark to the One who is the light of the world. A few Bible truths that help me keep perspective on the physical darkness of this time of year include:
- God created both light and the darkness. (Genesis 1:1-5)
- Even the darkness is not dark to God. (Psalm 139:11-12)
- There is no darkness in him. (1 John 1:5)
- Jesus is the light of the world. (John 1:1-4)
- God called his people to reflect his light to the sin-darkened world around them. (Isaiah 49:6)
- Jesus reminded his followers they’d been sent to be the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14-16)
- The new heavens and new earth at the end of days will never have night, as the glory of God will be its everlasting light, and the Lamb of God himself will be its lamp. (Revelation 21:22-25)
Interestingly, these Scriptures relate to the doom and gloom many of us feel as we read the headlines each day – whether it is troubling news taking place in our hometown or continuing unrest and war taking place across the Middle East. This world can be a very dark place, and there are times when it seems the news is getting darker by the day.
God who is pure, beautiful, holy light is at work in this darkness. He is redeeming the world he loves. The darkness will not have the final word in this broken world or in our lives. As we walk through the darkest season of the year, may these short, gloomy days remind us that the Light of the World sustains our hope, shapes our witness, and kindles our courage so we shine with his glory, no matter how dark things may become around us.
Michelle van Loon