I was told last week that for $39.95 I could purchase a “Happy Light.” I immediately went wireless to Amazon and ordered two! That seems like a reasonable amount of money to find true happiness! This year has been darker than most with more precipitation in our area than usual, breaking many monthly precipitation records. With the lack of ample sunlight, my serotonin level is low and my attitude seems to be wilting a bit. I plugged this source of happiness into the wall outlet and the light flooded my brain with 10,000 Lux UV blocked bright full spectrum white light therapy, which is recommended by professionals, whomever they are? But is it true happiness?
Light is such an important necessity in our lives. Can you imagine living a life without it? Light provides for our food source through its energy and helps keep me from injury as I would be constantly bumping into things, stumbling and falling. Perhaps this bright happy light is helping my health and my mood but does it bring about true happiness?
From the Gospel this morning we heard: “the people who sit in darkness saw a great light; and to those who sit in the region and shadow of death, light rose up to them.” [Mt. 4:16] Our engagement with sin leads us into darkness and out of the Uncreated Light. “Happiness can only be achieved by looking inward and learning to enjoy whatever life has and this requires transforming greed into gratitude.” (St. John Chrysostom) So we need to become more like Him, more like the pure Light, which is true happiness!
There is hope for us in that Christ has come to wash away our darkness and decay in the pure waters of Theophany, “for the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which hath been lost.” [Lk. 19:10] Saint John says: “He who is the true Light has come into the world.” (Jn 3:19) And In our baptism, Christ clothes us in a garment of light to cover our nakedness, which had reduced us to the slavery of sin of our mortal flesh in a world overwhelmed in death and decay. St. Nikolai Velimirorich writes: “Repentance is the abandoning of all false paths that have been trodden by men’s feet, and men’s thoughts and desires, and a return to the new path: Christ’s path.”
Of course there is a cost for this pure joy found on Christ’s path and it is a lot more than $39.95; it will cost you your life, 100% of it! Dying daily to the Holy Waters of baptism, over and over again, or as Saint Paisius put it: “I wish you many years — but not for them to be too happy, because happiness in the world isn’t really so healthy. When a man is too happy in this world, he forgets God and forgets death.” Turn from choices that take you away from the One who created you through humility and repentance and daily increase your time basking with the SON who baptized you in the waters of Jordan!
Fr. Gabriel Weller 1/20/2019