I live in a red light district. No… not that sort. From my house I can see the red light that tops the cathedral spire. It’s there to warn aircraft of the spire’s presence poking up into the sky. Every so often the light bulb has to be checked – and changed. What a task! Daunting, but essential.

There’s something comforting about the sight of that red light. In this season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, the light is sometimes obscured by mist – but we still know it’s there.

Sometimes it seems that comforting lights are hidden from us in our life situations. Depression, grief, uncertainty, redundancy, an unwelcome diagnosis, floods, poverty… can hang like heavy cloud cover over us. The light that brings a sense of well-being, safety and security, disappears – like the sun that is hidden behind a blanket of cloud, or like a red light hidden by fog.

When all seems lost, obscure and uneasy, we have to try and remember that the sun still exists above the cloud, that lights come back on after power cuts, that a torch will work with fresh batteries, that a dead light bulb may be changed, and that stars shine – in darkness.

I’m not trying to make light (pardon the pun) of the reality of difficult circumstances, but to present some hope: Jesus is described in John’s gospel as the Light. “The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has never put it out.”

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