By way of summary, the winter solstice is the day on which we have the most amount of darkness. Thereafter, rather than getting shorter, the days begin to get longer. Granted, this may only be by a few minutes each day; but it still happens. And it will continue to do so for the next six months, until the summer solstice in June, when we will finally have the most amount of daylight, before the waning days of fall set back in.
(For those who care about such things, halfway between each solstice are the annual equinoxes. In both the spring and the fall, there occurs that single day on which we have equal amounts of light and dark, with daylight waxing in the spring and waning in the fall.)
So, what’s my point? Just that I purely despise it getting dark at 4:30-5:00 pm each day. I much prefer days when we have sunlight well into the evening hours. Now, I understand that all of this is seemingly exacerbated by time change. But even without man-made clock adjustments, the rotation of the earth on its axis provides for much more sunlight per day in the northern hemisphere in the lead up to, during, and just after the summer months.
And this is precisely why I have longed to see December 22nd finally arrive. From this day forward, the world begins to get a little brighter. And that brightness will last just a little bit more each day.
In a literal sense, this allows me to get so much more done outside each day than is possible in the lead up to the winter solstice. From this day forward, no more being cooped up indoors from 5:00 pm on. More and more light means more and more opportunity to accomplish daily goals. For that reason, if for no other, I am happy to see this day arrive.
But maybe there is more than just the literal, physical ramifications of this day to be happy about. Maybe, just maybe, we can all be happy about what this day symbolizes. For surely it represents the day when darkness begins to give way to light!
Think about it. Whenever we experience darkness in our lives, do we not welcome the light? I know I do. This is especially true after extended periods of darkness. In such cases, any amount of light, even the most miniscule, is most reassuring.
This is not to mention the fact that warmth comes along with the light. After all, is not the lack of sunlight that which results in the lack of warmth? Simply put, where there is no light, there tends to be no warmth. Conversely, where there is plenty of sunlight, there tends to be more warmth.
How appropriate, therefore, that Christmas falls just after the winter solstice.
One of the most often quoted prophecies of the birth of Jesus at Christmastime is from Isaiah, chapter 9, verses 6-7:
6For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
But remember that this very oracle from Isaiah begins with these words:
2The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
Little wonder, then, that we celebrate Christmas with so many lights! If the coming of God’s Son into this world is about anything, it is surely about God’s light bursting forth into the darkness of mankind’s sinful condition.
What about you today? Are you now in, or have you recently been through, a period of darkness? If so, then let me share some really good news with you. That little babe born on the very first Christmas morn would one day grow up and have this to say (as recorded in the New Testament Gospel of John, chapter 8, verse 12):
“I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
Let that notion dawn on you, my friend. If you do, I’m confident you will soon see the light!
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