Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Do you find winter miserable?

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

As the temperature drops we know that winter is fast approaching and for many people it is a time to snuggle up in front of the fire and cosy up in warm jumpers. However, for the sufferers of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) winter signifies a time of misery and gloom. Apparently this form of winter depression affects an estimated half a million people every year between September and April, but more particularly during November, December and January.

Many people eat and sleep slightly more in winter and dislike the dark mornings and short days. This is known as 'winter blues’. Others have more severe symptoms such as sleep problems, withdrawal, overeating, depression, anxiety and lethargy. These often lead to difficulties at home, work and in relationships. This is a recognised problem known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

SAD is caused by the lack of bright light in winter. Light entering our eyes stimulates our brain to control our daily rhythms through hormone production. In some people, the low levels of light in winter are insufficient to regulate the hormones that affect our waking up and sleeping, our feeling energised or depressed.

To treat SAD, most sufferers need light to their eyes as bright as a spring morning on a clear day for around 30 minutes a day. The light must be at least at a level which is roughly four times brighter than a well-lit office. Lightboxes have been designed that allow shorter treatment times and the option of sitting further away. Whether people have SAD from low light or milder winter blues, bright light is proven to tackle symptoms, putting sufferers in a better mood and making them feel more awake.

Together with air, water and food, light is one of the essentials for human life. If the Sun went out, everything would die. In the spiritual realm Jesus the Son of God is the essential for our spiritual wellbeing. He is the Light of life and the Light of the world. He is the Sun of righteousness. By His Holy Spirit, He gives us the breath of life, as well as the Water of life. Also Jesus is the Living Bread of Life that at that first Christmas came down from heaven. He not only has life and gives life, but He is Life.

At Carol Services over the recent festive season this verse from the book of Isaiah was read often, “the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them has the light shined". 

Light and darkness are recurring themes in the Bible and we love either the light or the darkness, and this love controls our actions. Those who believe on Christ are the sons of light. Just as the first Creation began with "Let there be light", so the New Creation begins with the entrance of light into the heart of every one who believes. The coming of the Lord Jesus Christ into the world was the dawning of a new day for sinful mankind.

We would think, especially at Christmastime, that blind sinners would welcome the Light and not be sad, but such is not always the case. The coming of the true Light brought conflict as the powers of darkness opposed it. The Bible confirms this because as the Light keeps on shining in the darkness so the darkness has not overcome it or understood it. Still today the words and the works of Jesus are not understood and people oppose Him, and the the Light of His glorious Gospel is not allowed to penetrate the darkness in their minds.

But today we need not commit these same blunders because the marvellous promise of God is that anyone who receives Christ will be born again and enter the family of God.  Thank God the Light is still shining! We need to personally receive the Light to dispel our sadness, depression, anxiety and sinfulness by becoming a child of God?  We should not let Satan blind our minds by not believing, but let the Light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the Image of God, shine into our minds. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness can shine in your heart to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. Amen.”

Used by permission of Your542Day. Written for Messages with Meaning by Peter Francis 

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