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1808 PD: The Constant Light

Leon Leavitt Published on 09 December 2008

Dad had hired a neighbor, Rolf Geertson, to combine our wheat field in the summer of 1954.

The last load had been dumped from the combine and Dad backed Rolf’s truck next to the open door of the cement granary. Since we didn’t have an auger, Dad and I took turns shoveling the wheat through the narrow opening. The sun had long gone down. I was a budding teenager, and it felt good to know that I could almost keep up with him. We had half of the truck unloaded into the bin when Dad suggested we take a breather. We both lay down on the wheat pile and gazed into the brilliant night sky. The immensity of space with its thousands of stars was overwhelming. I saw the Big Dipper and recognized the North Star, which never changes position.

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I started to ask a plethora of questions that perhaps only a young man would ask: “Why are there so many stars? Why are some brighter than others? Are there other suns? Are there other solar systems? Are there other galaxies? Do they have planets? Do all planets have moons? Do other people live on these planets? Where did all this begin? How did it begin? Why did it begin? Who started all this anyway, Dad?”

He listened to my patter and calmly responded to each inquisitive plea. If he didn’t know the answer, he would say so. He spoke of that which has been written and declared by ancient and modern prophets concerning the creations of God. He explained in reverential tones concerning the grand council in heaven prior to earth’s creation and the central role that Jesus Christ, the Creator, played in that council, presided over by our Heavenly Father. I listened attentively, not wishing to interrupt. He called it the “plan of happiness” or the “plan of salvation” or the “plan of Christ” – I don’t remember which. I could just feel that he believed strongly in what he was sharing with me. I had heard of these things before in a Sunday School class setting, but this was different. The quietness of the night was interrupted by the unexplained pounding in my heart as my dad bore witness of the living Christ. We got up and began shoveling more wheat. And the North Star continued to glow.

Fifty-four years have now passed since that August night with my dad. Jane and I now live in Santiago, Chile, a bustling city of seven million people, where there seems to be a constant layer of smog which permeates the air day and night. Once in a great while, when the smog clears at night, I search for that familiar North Star, which always gives me a bearing for direction. And thus it has been from the beginning. Ancient mariners, desert nomads, wandering tribes, astronomers and modern aviators have used this star to find their way. Whether to plot the course for unseen destinations or for the lost to be found – it has always been there. A constant light.

Today we live in a tip-topsy world of shifting values, a time of unprecedented natural disasters, a time of famine, a time of financial upheaval in world economies, a time of changing laws and definitions to fit our self-consuming obsessions and passions, a time of defying the order of law, a time of calling good evil and calling evil good, a time of greed and corruption, a time of political upheaval, a time of terrorism worldwide, a time of promiscuity and immorality that would make Sodom and Gomorrah blush. The incessant smog of these conditions on earth may seem unbearable at times – and warrants a merciful, charitable and forgiving light, which thanks be to God, arrived as the Babe of Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago.

We rejoice at this Christmas Season and reaffirm that Jesus Christ is indeed the constant light for all mankind. His divine directions give meaning, zest and purpose to life even during hard times. And thus it has been from the beginning. He said, “My peace I leave with you.”

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And every now and then, at night under a star-spangled sky, spend some time on your back out in the hay field, or in the back pasture, or on a snow bank, or on a load of freshly harvested wheat. As you find the North Star, let it be a reminder that the wise men of old found Him, the Christ Child. Even today wise men still seek Him ... and find Him – The Constant Light. PD

Leon Leavitt
Publisher Emeritus
Progressive Dairyman

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