Sunday, December 21, 2008

THE LONGEST NIGHT...TIME TO CELEBRATE!

Even as winter sets in, we celebrate the dawning of Light

DARKNESS PERVADES. The shortest day and the longest night of the year occurs today, Sunday, December 21. Winter solstice brings us to the depths of atmospheric darkness. The sun is sparce as the earth's northern hemisphere reaches full tilt away from our source of light and life. Evenings are early, nights are long, sunrise is late. Accompanying darkness is the presence of cold and freezing.

AT THE TURNING POINT. A perfect time to celebrate! Odd as it sounds, the fullness of darkness incites a confidence in the return of light. Even as we steel ourselves for a long stretch of winter's ways, hearts are buoyed by the day-by-day realization that this darkness shall not endure, that light shall return, that cold will end, and life will thrive again.

LIGHT OF THE WORLD. It is no coincidence that the time of winter solstice was chosen to commemorate the Incarnation of God--the birth of Jesus. Once Christianity became recognized and "official" in the world Rome ruled, some pagan solistice holidays and rites were "Christianized" and supplanted with Christian purpose and meaning. It seems fitting now that Saturnalia was eclipsed by Christmas (December 25 was considered Winter Solstice on the Julian Calendar). The imagery of Christ coming as the light of the world, hope in the midst of spiritual darkness--even though darkness persists--is powerful for this time of the year.

THE TIDE HAS TURNED. So, even as winter officially begins, we sing "Joy to the world, the Lord is come!" Just as cold and darkness assert their grip, we call out "No more let sin and sorrow grow!" Though night be long, we have an assurance that Light will dawn. Even now it breaks through, turns the tide, and sets our hearts ablaze. It's the height of darkness; celebrate the light.

In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility. Shalom!

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