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Pastor’s Blog: Angled Light


The winter’s solstice is coming soon. I have heard people complain lately about the dark season. I am aware that there are those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder – it’s harder to get out of bed (especially before the sun rises), we feel tired and less enthused about our days. I know of people who go south this time of year just to feel some relief from the darkness; it hasn’t helped that it has been raining so much. Having recognized this, there is one thing I like about the December sky – the angle of light; the sun shines not from about but at an angle. This creates longer shadows and light that is more opaque and muted.

I love Impressionism because of the attention given to light; particularly Claude Monet. Recall his paintings of haystacks – he painted the same haystack numerous times only changing the angle of light. I am also fond of solo pianist, George Winston, particularly his CD entitled December. In a sermon recently I mentioned how I love Handel’s Messiah; solo piano is different. While the choir and orchestra blend many notes creating harmonies that lift and inspire, solo piano is about a succession of notes that includes the spaces between the notes. This stresses contrast – light and darkness, as if each single note was a sliver a light in the darkness. This sense characterizes Advent and Christmas for me.

This can be a SAD season. It is for that reason that I look for the slivers of light, the angled beam that piercingly illuminates; it does not dominate its voice is not loud. Where are those places where in the midst of darkness in our lives that the Spirit of God interjects a flake of wisdom? I often find myself just sitting in silence waiting for these moments. I bemoan the fact that preparing for Christmas dislodges any still time from our lives; preparing for Christmas has become the opposite of what waiting for Jesus was created to be. (Yes, I know I’ve said enough on that.) Yet, I still wish for all to experience the still small voice of this season – the angled light and the contrasted note; echoes of grace. P.Jim

P.S. The Son does not come from above but at an angle.

These photos were taken during the winter of 1982-1983 from around the small house in which I lived in Hokkaido, Japan. Obviously, they are pre-digital and had to be transferred – they are also old and show the effects of slides hanging out in a garage for many years. The colors faded so I converted them to black and white (sometimes black and white expresses light better).

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