Turning Our Face to the Light

Published December 7, 2021 by Pattie Chapman

Arise, shine; for your Light has come. (Isaiah 60:1a)

Anyone fortunate enough to be traveling through the prairies of North America from July to September will be rewarded by vast expanses of yellow flowers as far as the eye can see—flowers lined up like soldiers on parade in cultivated fields or blossoms carelessly loitering by the side of the road. Sunflowers nod in the warm summer breeze and seem to smile at the world as their yellow and brown faces turn up to meet the sun.

Blooming in summer, this native North American plant's large solitary blossoms are actually composed of numerous smaller blooms: yellow ray flowers and a central disc of yellow, brown, or purple flowers. The tiny blossoms work together, impersonating a huge flower. In the plant world, it is the boldest bloom that gets the bee, and the sunflower's illusion ensures its survival. Sunflowers have always held a special place in my heart and my garden as reliable, easy-to-grow blooms that attract both butterflies and birds.

But the characteristic I admire most about the sunflower is its constant need to orient to the sun. One year while my husband and I were driving through Kansas on our way to Colorado, we discovered we could discern the location of the sun (and most of the time, our travel direction) by observing the sunflowers in the passing fields and roadsides. In the early morning the blossoms' shaggy heads were turned to the east, welcoming the light of the sun and the new day. At noon each flowers stood at attention with its face turned upward to the sun, drinking in its warmth and light. At dusk all flowers faced west, bidding the sun goodnight. We marveled at the single-mindedness of these flowers to find the sun, tracing it from dark to dusk the whole day, and then, with the new dawn, beginning their task again.

Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2)

At this time of the year, we tend to get sidetracked by components of the Christmas season that are not part of Christ's Light—things like responsibilities, worries, obligations, etc., that obscure the "Light" that first came to us at Christmas. My prayer this year is that I can be more like the sunflower—orienting my face to the Light and remembering that before Christ came, we were people of darkness—now we are people of His Light.

Prayer: Dear Father, help me to rejoice only in the Light that has come. Amen.