Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas – Light and Dark

Every year I look forward to the winter solstice, as the day that marks when the light will be returning for longer periods, stretching the sun spilled day longer and longer. As someone who enjoys snow and moon, it is also the perfect blend of blue skied sunny days with all of that light reflecting off a thick Midwest snow. When that occurs, I head out with my camera, tripod, and thick winter coat, to see what images I can find as the light changes from brilliant to soft and subdued. The trees cast shadows as if they were giant fiddle players, bending and creaking in the breeze. Light spills from decorations, windows, and lamps, adding more layer and dimension to the landscape. The crunch of my boots in the snow leaves foot prints, now micro catchers of light and shadow on a new scale.

   Light and dark, shine and shadow: these powerful things which change the perception of the very world around us and how it is shaped. From the subtle and subdued shades of moonlight, starlight, and snow to the blinding brilliance of sun on snow, light is an incredible creation. We are also called to be light. That seems that it should be easier this time of year, with many different opportunities to share caring with others. And yet, it is often quite difficult. Yesterday alone, I felt off and on all day that I was behind. How could that be? It’s December 1, I’ve got nearly all my shopping done, Christmas cards are started, and two of the trees are built. How could I be behind already? The feeling is persistent though, as I wonder when in schedules I will fit this and that and the other activity into the next few weeks. With such a packed calendar, I become worried that my light is rather covered with wrapping paper, calendars, and Christmas decorations.
    “‘You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.’”Matthew 5:14-16. This reminds me that I must clarify the reason for the activities, prioritize (a lot), and constantly look to be a light. Otherwise, I will be stuck in shadows.