OUR family's home is in the hilly Snowbelt of the United States, just south of an area known as the ``north country.'' It's often cloudy in the winter, and indoor gardeners more alert than I gather their houseplants from the far reaches of the home to sunny spots near south-facing windows. Even forgetful plant-keepers, though, realize the startling effect of sunlight on a plant. But what many of us sometimes forget is the wonderful effect of the light of God's ever-presence on the health and thought of man. This is true light, and it never fails -- winter or summer.
Winter doldrums are often less a matter of weather or season than of what we are thinking of ourselves and our lives. That's why spiritual light is so helpful -- winter or summer. In the Bible, light often symbolizes truth. The truth of being, including the way God creates and governs man, is light without equal when it comes to illuminating and brightening our lives.
Just as it requires some knowledge of plants to see how sunlight nourishes them, so it takes a basic understanding of man to see how the light of the truth supports him. It's really best to go back to the beginning. The book of Genesis first records God's command ``Let there be light.''1 Before anything else, there was light. This light, which God called Day, was good.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in detail of creation in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. About the passages above she says: ``All questions as to the divine creation being both spiritual and material are answered in this passage, for though solar beams are not yet included in the record of creation, still there is light. This light is not from the sun nor from volcanic flames, but it is the revelation of Truth and of spiritual ideas.''2
Sunlight aids photosynthesis in plants. The activity of spiritual light in the life of man, however, is quite different. Though we might well be used to thinking of ourselves as complex biological organisms, the Biblical record of man made in God's likeness reveals man as created spiritually by God. So the real man is not a mix of biology and spirituality. Just as God is not a large humanlike being who is also infinite Spirit, so man is not biological at the perimeter but spiritual at the core. God, Spirit, creates man in the only way possible -- as the spiritual offspring of divine Spirit.
God nourishes His spiritual creation through the light of truth. Because it is from God alone, this spiritual light is completely independent of any material condition or process. But this light can make a real difference in our daily lives, as I saw several years ago.
It was winter. After many years in sunnier regions, we were in an area known for its winter cloudiness. I remember how dark and drab the landscape appeared as I drove to work each day. The gray of the skies and the land seemed to enclose my thought.
One day, however, I looked up at the hills and thought, ``Praise God for His goodness.'' I thought of the many blessings received by our family in our new home. Suddenly, those ``drab'' hills came alive. I saw how beautifully the dark green swatches of conifer contrasted with the brownish-gray hills. The bleakness I had been feeling disappeared completely. Never again did winter bring such a feeling.
It was not the passing of time or a sunnier day or a biological adjustment that changed my view. It was the realization that all of God's love and goodness were present for me that day, as they had always been. God had already filled my life with spiritual joy and discovery. This is the winter light for me.
1See Genesis 1:3-5. 2Science and Health, p. 504.