by Christine Berglund
It’s so nice that winter is just about over!
By the middle of February, the lack of sunshine causes my Seasonal Affective Disorder to manifest itself in sad feelings and thoughts of despair and hopelessness. My mind, thankfully, recognizes this as a temporary non-valid feeling that will pass just as soon as I can absorb more sunshine.
Researchers have tied this phenomenon, experienced by millions of people, to the lack of Vitamin D, which our bodies produce from exposure to the sun’s light. Some think that the light must enter the eye, while others insist the sun’s rays only need to shine on exposed skin.
Whatever the cause, it underlines a common thread in humanity — we love light!
I don’t dislike nighttime, and I’m not afraid of the dark. It’s just that light is – well — more useful. Who uses bright lights? Surgeons, dentists, seamstresses, scientific researchers, to name a few. In any activity that needs to be done precisely, sufficient light is required.
Let me introduce into this discussion the humble Helianthus – Sunflowers, as they are commonly known. There are more than fifty varieties, from the big tall old-fashioned kind that your mother grew at the back of the vegetable garden, to the Jerusalem artichoke, with its sweet fleshy root.
They follow the sun in a process called phototropism because of growth hormones called auxins, which the plants produce.
Auxins stimulate the elastin in the cell walls of the sunflower stem that is shaded, causing the cells on the shady side to elongate. This makes it bend away from the shade and toward the light.
Other plants do the same, but Helianthus is named for its ability to follow the sun, at least before the flowers bloom. Mine, a Helianthus Maximillian, stayed pointed eastward all day.
Researchers are at a loss to explain what purpose this sun-following motion serves to the plant. Personally, I think God did this as a touch of whimsy!
We naturally follow our instincts to be attracted to light, and even shiny objects in some cases. We do this in a spiritual sense, too.
When Genesis 1:27 (NASB) tells us “God created man in His own image,” it probably has more to do with Man’s moral sense and intelligence than his physical appearance.
Countless times, my husband and I have encountered tortured souls who felt that they were doing wrong, without even having it pointed out! They were bending away from their shadowy actions and asking to be pointed to the light.
In spite of the unholy influence of the world, most people still have enough of the “image of God” in them to crave the light, in the forms of righteousness, goodness, and hope. It was said of the Gentiles
“They show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them” (Romans 2:15).
Unfortunately, not everyone craves spiritual light.
“The Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:19b -20).
The Light that is Jesus Christ is a cure for our sadness, our sins, and our dim and fleeting lives. He offers the brilliance and joy that comes with eternal life in the light of his presence.
“I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12).