The joy of light

John Alderson 'Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2019 at 15:20'Sunrise on the Pier and Sunset at the Glass Centre.
John Alderson 'Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2019 at 15:20'Sunrise on the Pier and Sunset at the Glass Centre.

Every fortnight people from a farming background, or who have a heart for the countryside, offer a personal reflection on faith and rural life. They hope that you will be encouraged by it.

I wonder if you share my joy at the arrival of more daylight hours.

I relish light, so every autumn I feel sad when the hours of daylight recede bringing darker mornings and evenings. While many find comfort in curling up in front of a log fire (or radiator) to watch television or read a good book, most farmers need to work long into the evenings and even during the night.

This winter we had several storms which caused interruptions to our electricity supply, thus leaving us in the dark. At times like these we were relieved to be able to turn on a generator so that essential work on the farm could continue.

One afternoon a situation arose that even the generator could not solve; we had an electrical fault in a cable. Thankfully the dairy unit was not affected, but there was no power going to the calf houses for several days until an electrician could come to fix it.

Battery powered lanterns and torches were needed in abundance. However, they gave a lot less light than the electric counterparts, making our work much slower. Despite my craving for light I have always resisted using a head torch, much to the consternation of some family members!

So why is light so important? It is recognised that people feel more secure when they can see what is around them and are more likely to feel content and be more optimistic. Light is also necessary for sustaining life itself and for creation to flourish.

When God created the world He recognised the importance of light, and in the Bible in Genesis 1:3-4 we read, “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good and he separated the light from the darkness.” Of course the source of light and energy, which God created is the sun, it has a diameter 109 times that of the earth and also lights up the moon. God’s creation is amazing.

While more hours of daylight may give us some measure of hope and contentment we know this won’t last because autumn will come again.

We are living in challenging times and can become discouraged by events in our nation and in our personal lives. Have you ever found yourself yearning for a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’?

The Bible speaks of One who is that ‘Light’, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’” (John 8:12). We can hold fast to this truth.

God is the ultimate ruler of every country and everyone and we will only answer to Him when our time on earth is over. If we allow Jesus’ light to shine into our lives it will illuminate things we would prefer to keep in the dark. Nevertheless, we do so in the knowledge that the ‘Light of the World’ sacrificed His life to pay the penalty for our sin. We will only find lasting peace and contentment when we ask forgiveness for our sins, accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, and trust the greatest ‘Light’ of all.

Charlotte Stevenson farms with her husband, Jim and son, James, near Kilkeel in County Down. She is a member of Mourne Presbyterian. Having worked at the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s Assembly Buildings in Belfast for a number of years, in December 2017 Charlotte retired.

If you would like to talk to someone about any of the issues raised in this article, please email Rev. Kenny Hanna at khanna@presbyterianireland.org or call him on 028 9753 1234.