It was isolated farming country with long distances between families. There was no telephone and no electricity so communication was by letter and light at night was by kerosene lamp or candle.
Money was scarce and candles cost money so they were used sparingly. Kerosene lamps were even more luxurious so a small one was in the kitchen and a large one was reserved for the family room.
Nothing was lighted until the darkness of night settled on the house.
Nobody carried candles or lamps about with them, except for an unlit lantern hanging from the veranda rafter on emergency call to attend a disturbed horse or cow or sheep on dark nights.
Family members knew every step of the way around the house and went from room to room in total darkness without fear or stumbling.
I thought of it all very early this morning. We had had clouds and rain for several weeks with no hint of sunlight and this was midsummer, the very middle month of summer in a ‘hot, brown land’ with temperatures that usually hover towards forty degrees Celsius.
Leaving my bed just as the darkness of night began to grey, I dressed in the dark and crept outside. Across the valley towards the sunrise, there was a misty break in the clouds on the skyline of the distant hills. The sun shone into it from below the horizon and set it aglow, with a soft richness and glow power far beyond any lamp or candle. It was the only light between threatening clouds and the darkness of the earth below and it was enough to see heaven with.
I thought of what Paul said to the Ephesians, “Though you once were in darkness, now as Christians you are light. Prove yourselves at home in the light, for where light is, there is a harvest of goodness, righteousness, and truth.” (Ephesians 5:8)
We have a harvest to produce and harvest cannot come without light. Candles and lamps are not enough, only light from heaven has enough glow power for the harvest it must produce. And only the Lord can give it because only he has the glow power to reveal heaven. He has it because “in him was life, and that life was the light of mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never mastered it.” (John 1:4,5).
The big secret is to find the light switch.