[This is an updated version of a blog I wrote a few years ago at this time. I hope you enjoy it.]
I don’t like it.
How’s that for a short blog?
Well, actually it’s more of a love-hate relationship. I hate how short the days are; as I mentioned in my “Summer Solstice” blog post, I love long days and overloads of daylight. These days I look out my office window at 5:30 and it’s dark. It’s enough to depress Joel Osteen.
That’s the hate part. What could I possible love about it? It is knowing that after this Saturday, December 21st at 11:19 PM, the days start getting longer again and continue increasing till next June 21st.
I know: another breathtaking insight on my part, right? “Um, Kent, I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but this happens ever year ….”
So does Christmas, but we still look forward to that. Don’t we?
(If your response was anything other than, “Yes of course,” I want you to go directly to your nearest mirror, look straight into it and say, “Hello, Mr./Mrs./Ms. GRRRRRINCH.”)
Knowing that the short days are coming to a head and will soon be getting longer is a reason to smile, something to look forward to. Hope is essential to the human soul. So is sunlight. We cannot live for long without either. Combine them and you have a powerful antidote for pessimism and depression, and who doesn’t need all of that he can get?
That’s one reason to look forward to the solstice. It’s all uphill from there.
Here’s one other aspect about the winter solstice you might not know: according to Marva Dawn (A Royal Waste of Time), Christmas Eve was purposely put on December 24th, the day the ancients realized that sun time was increasing, and John the Baptist’s day on June 24th when they realized the daylight was decreasing. This was in keeping with John’s words about Jesus in John 3:30:
“He must increase, but I must decrease.”
I have preached from pulpits where those words were engraved, facing the preacher … just to remind whoever was speaking that worship is not about him. He’s not the main focus, the leading actor in the worship event. It’s about Christ, and him alone: conceived by the Holy Spirit; born of the virgin Mary; crucified, dead, buried and risen from the dead.
And that’s not just true in the sanctuary. That’s a great message for anywhere, anytime, the short days, the long days and every day in between. That’s a great message for life.
It’s also a helpful metaphor: We live in a time when darkness appears to be ascendant on all sides. As the darkness increases, seemingly overwhelming and even obliterating the light, it’s good to remember – especially as we approach the birth of Christ:
In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:4-5).
Happy solstice to all … and to all a most blessed Christmas.