Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Winter solstice, December 21!  Get ready! 

According to Wikipedia, winter solstice is defined as the the time of shortest light and longest night.  The sun is at its lowest point in the sky.  It’s tough!  
Each December my husband and I and several friends are invited to a solstice party at our friends’ home.  We enjoy a meal together, shiver as we stand around a campfire singing songs and sharing favorite readings.  The snowy yard is lit with ice candles allowing us to see our way through the snow.  Solstice  seems like a strange reason to celebrate.  Short days, long, bone chilling nights, snow, outdoor activities at a standstill, all this can be a challenge to our mental health.  Yet, we celebrate, embracing this dark time of year  knowing that this is a turning point, when light begins to return to our hemisphere.  It fills us with hope for the coming year.  And, so, we celebrate as many have done for centuries!
I embrace winter solstice because it seems to enhance the joy of Christmas.  Having lived in Hawaii for a short time I discovered how much our Minnesota weather made Christmas more meaningful.  It was lovely to spend the holidays on the beach but images of Santa coming to town on a surfboard seemed odd for a fella who lives at the North Pole.  Our Norfolk Pine tree was fresh and we could plant it in our garden after Christmas where it would root and grow.  A Norway Pine smells better.  Sun, sand and ukulele music couldn’t replace snowmen, sleighs and bells.
Winter solstice days are short but the sun on white snow is brighter than on a sandy beach, and the sky is a brilliant blue.  Long, dark nights are an opportunity to showcase Christmas lights and shining stars.  The experience of the Wisemen following the star from the east  to find the Babe in Bethlehem seems easier to imagine knowing how long the nights can be and how brilliant the stars shine.  Likewise, the angels, who appeared to the shepherds, came at night sending them on their way to the Child.  So they all gathered in the stable to worship Jesus as the Christmas star shone down from above.  
Jesus came to a  dark world bringing light to the world.  

John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Solstice, marking the beginning of longer days of light seems symbolic of His coming to our world.  Get ready.  Embrace the solstice and Jesus the light of the world.

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