In the 1930s a new livestock barn was built on a farm my granddad would later buy. The barn was used to shelter animals and to store hay and farm equipment.
It wasn’t long after the new barn was built that the farm house the family lived in burned to the ground. It took six months to rebuild the house and during that six months the family lived in the barn with the livestock.
When my grandparents bought the farm in the early forties electrical power had been connected to the farm house and a line later was run to the barn.
Sometime around the time I was born, in the late ‘40s, someone placed a large light fixture on the front of the barn. The light was so strong and placed in such a position that it could light the entire barn yard at night. When you opened the barn door there was even enough light to feed the animals that were in their stalls.
As a young lad I helped my family work at night using the light over the barn. The light would become a beacon to find your way home from the tobacco barn. Granddad burned wood and had a large wood pile in the barn yard under the light. I’ve seen him a many a dark night carrying wood into the house. Even when coon hunters would go hunting at night behind our farm they used the light to direct them back to their truck. Why my friends and I used the shadows of the light to play hide and go seek.
Inn the fall we used the light to hang tobacco out to moisten before caring it to market. Later in the year folks would gather under the light to shuck corn and even cook a chicken or catfish stew. There was just a feeling of security that folks felt while being under the light at night.
Many years went by and the light started to flicker even with a new bulb. Having sold his livestock, Granddad decided it would be better to cut off the power to the light before it burned the barn down. With no power to the light, on dark nights, you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face in the stables or the barn yard.
Several years went by and my grandparents passed away. Seemed the old barn was falling in on itself and was no longer needed. Fire was used to burn down the barn for safety reasons but someone removed the old light fixture and threw it down in the woods.
Last year I was walking through the woods behind the old farm and I spotted the old light under a pile of pine straw. I pulled it out and thought of all the fond memories I had made under the old light.
I carried the light fixture to the house and someday I hope to paint and rewire it and use it on my barn.
While carrying the light back to the house it reminded me of a different light and this was the beautiful star light that shone over two thousand years ago in the city of Bethlehem. The same light, that marked the spot where the Christ child was born and the same light that was provided for Mary, Joseph and the livestock to witness the miraculous birth of our Lord and Savior. The very light that guided the shepherds and wise men to the Christ Child.
You see, Christ was and still is the light of the world. This light will never flicker or go out as my barn yard light did. His Kingdom will not decay or be burned in fire for it is everlasting.
My hope and prayer for this Christmas season is that you and your family will let Christ, the Light of the World, into your home and for the rest of your life. He will serve as a beacon to guide you through the darkest times and will lead you to eternal life with him.
J.A. Bolton is author of “Just Passing Time”, co-author of “Just Passing Time Together,” member of Anson County Writer’s Club, Anson and Richmond County Historical Societies and Story Spinners in Laurinburg. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.