Spring in the far north, as it is in most places, is a season of renewal. After months of snow and almost three months of no sunlight, we are glad for any light—a lightbulb, the moon, high beams—that causes a break in the darkness. From my kitchen window, I can look across the sund and see a blue scrawl of jagged mountains. There is a sharp V-shape in one of the mountain ranges, formed by a deep valley between two opposing ridges. It is here, in the notch of this V, that I will first glimpse the sun at the end of January. It will be only a glimpse, too, though my whole body will rise to the light. I will feel as if I suddenly understand the old rites to old gods, and I will remember again the hymn we sang in my dad’s churches when I was a little boy.
I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner condemned, unclean.
After only a couple of minutes, the sun will go away, rotating along its expected course behind the mountains. From this moment forward, we will gain fifteen minutes of sunlight every day until solstice.
“Rise to the Light”