The nights are getting longer as the shortest day of the year draws near and Scargill’s Director Phil Stone is contemplating darkness and starlight…
Having moved from London to North Yorkshire I can say without doubt that the weather here is real. I’ve never experienced cold, wind or rain like it. Yorkshire Rain is different to any other rain. Yorkshire rain is powerful, hitting the pavement with such force that it shoots up your trouser leg. Then there’s the snow. We have just welcomed our first bit of snow this last week. MY colleague Dave tells me that in the Dales you get six months of winter and six months of bad weather! Of course we do get some absolutely beautiful, crisp, fresh days but there is no escaping that the weather here is real. At the moment it can be a bit of a struggle, life can feel like it is all about survival. It is dark when we gather for prayers in the morning and on a cloudy day it can be dark and gloomy again by three. I have been learning how to cope with that.
But it’s not all darkness. The great thing about the season of Advent is that amid all the gloom of the all too real weather, we have a lot of talk about light. Jesus described himself as the light of the world and says with him we too are to be lights in the world. We are to share this light. It is warming at this time of year to reflect on God’s light as something that is inviting and welcoming. The light of God is hospitable. It’s a bit like when you’ve been out late at night and you come home to find a light’s been left on for you. There’s maybe even a little sign welcoming you home and a tasty sandwich. It’s the sort of thing that really warms you. This light gets under your skin and transforms you. In Isaiah it says, ‘The people walking in darkness have seen a great light…’ One of the joyful things about Scargill is that it is a place where people can experience this powerful welcoming light – the light that Jesus gives. In what can feel like such a dark an inhospitable world it is reassuring to find a light burning and a welcome ready.
Wherever we are we are called to be like lights. In Philippians Paul talks about us being like shining stars in the universe as we hold out the word of life. As it happens, this place here, in the Dales, is a designated dark spot which means there is no light pollution to dim the night sky so we get to see the stars shine beautifully and bright. At this dark time of year we have a wonderful opportunity to see the light that shines, both above and among us.
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