February. The longest shortest month of the year. Thankfully the Roman emperors who modified the calendar gave it only 28 days and only allowed it a 29th day every four years, but it still seems like it is the longest month ever . . . especially in the Midwest. (As my husband asks me every winter, “Why do we live where the air hurts our faces?”) This time of year, many people suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, (aptly acronymed SAD). The winter months mean less sunlight, which affects our circadian rhythms and causes our serotonin levels to drop and our melatonin levels to become unbalanced, which then affects our sleep patterns and our moods. During this long month of dreariness, when the holidays are a thing of the past and our New Year’s resolutions have fizzled out, when summer sun seems light-years away, we can easily fall into a funk or an even darker place. How can we battle this? Light.
Light therapy is a real thing; people can buy special lights to sit near and soak up the rays. The standard output of a light therapy box is in the range of 2,500-10,000 lux (a lux is the measure of light brightness). This artificial light simulates outdoor sunshine and can help boost serotonin (the “feel good” hormone), melatonin, and Vitamin D levels, thereby boosting our moods. Light is powerful.
And yet . . . these artificial lights can only do so much. Even an abundance of natural sunlight has its limits. The sun can deliver about 100,000 lux, but that doesn’t mean that we might not still suffer from things like depression and anxiety or just the normal sadness and weariness that come from living in a fallen world. How can we battle this? Light. But not just any old light. I’m talking about the Light of the world.
God is light; in him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).
No darkness. No sadness. No tears. No shame. No guilt. No sleepless nights. Just . . . light.
There are over two hundred references to light in the Bible. Since we could all use a bit of light right now, here are just some quick parts of “illuminating” passages:
- I am the light of the world (John 8:12).
- My God turns my darkness into light (Psalm 18:28).
- The Lord is my light and my salvation (Psalm 27:1).
- The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple (Psalm 119:130).
- God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light (Genesis 1:3).
In the very beginning, there was utter darkness until God made light. In fact, God himself is light, and only he can bring light to the world. We’re talking off the charts on the lux scale. Nothing artificial about it. And the most amazing thing is that God’s light has the ability to pull us out of our dark places and into the light with him. The ultimate serotonin boost! When Jesus died on the cross, he brought us from death to life, from darkness to light.
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth) (Ephesians 5:8,9).
Goodness! Righteousness! Truth! We can walk in the light! We are his children of light! What lux!
During this long season we call “February,” we yearn for spring; we have hope that the warmth will return, the sun will stay out longer, the plants will grow, and there will be newness and light.
Just as we long for spring, so too we long for the new heavens and new earth promised to us in both Old Testament and New. In heaven there is no February. In heaven we need no artificial lights. In heaven we don’t even need the sunlight. For God is the Light!
The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end (Isaiah 60:19,20).
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp (Revelation 21:23).
There is a better life coming. There is a better light coming. In him there is no darkness at all. What lux!