The Winter Solstice & The Light of the World

The Winter Solstice & The Light of the World

2014 | Week of December 22 – #1077

“Daddy, Daddy! More yites! More yites! We need more yites!” That was my child-like and constant comment at Christmas growing up. Dad never could get enough lights on the inside tree, the house and the outside trees, or anywhere else to satisfy me. To this day, I love the lights of Christmas.  Frankly, I really do like light in general.

The months and weeks leading to and just after the Winter Solstice are often difficult. When we reach December 20 or 21, whichever day the Winter Solstice is, I am immediately heartened because I know the days are getting longer and I’ll get to enjoy daylight a bit more each day until June 20 or 21 when we experience the Summer Solstice and begin reversing the process. 

Winter Solstice is the day and actually the exact minute, when in the Northern Hemisphere the earth is leaning most away from the sun for the year, giving us the longest night and the shortest day of the year.  This year, the Winter Solstice was this past Sunday, December 21 at 5:03 p.m. It is correct to say in an astronomical sense and in a physical sense, the Winter Solstice for the Northern Hemisphere is the darkest day of the year.

This year more than any I can remember, I’ve been thinking about the Winter Solstice in connection with Christmas on December 25. I know theologians dispute the idea that Christ was actually born on December 25.  Honestly, I don’t think He was. But, that doesn’t diminish in any way my joy in the celebration of His incarnation.  The Birthday of the King of Kings deserves, yea demands to be fully celebrated and recognized as one of the greatest events in human history.

Actually, I think celebrating Jesus’s birthday close to the Winter Solstice is altogether fitting.  As we humans are struggling with some of the darkest days and longest nights of the year, we jubilantly celebrate the coming in flesh of Him Who told us He is the “Light of the World.”  Indeed, we are celebrating the birth of the God of the Winter Solstice—the One Who gives us hope in the changing of the seasons!

With Jesus’s arrival in Bethlehem on whatever day in history it was, light, everlasting light came into the world.  And the light never shines more brightly than when the darkness is the darkest.  When Jesus was born, sin was rampant. Oppressive tyranny was the law of the day. Jewish religious leaders were making life nearly impossible for their own people by adding to the law God had given them. It had been 400 years of silence—of waiting, of watching for the coming of the Messiah God had promised them. Many had long since abandoned hope of the promise ever being fulfilled.

In the midst of all this darkness, the Light of the World entered—and pierced forever the darkness of sin with His forgiveness, love, and redemption. The skies were bright that night with the angels, nearly blinding the shepherds.  Later, a bright star, a natal star, guided the wise men from afar straight to the spot where the young child Jesus was. Brilliant light accompanied the birth of “the Light of the World.”

Celebrating the birth of our great Savior at the darkest time of our yearly calendar and doing so with lights—lots of lights everywhere—is so very in keeping with the truth of His first coming.

Beyond the lights we put up and enjoy at Christmas as a reminder that we’re celebrating the coming in flesh of the Light of the World, we should also remember that we as Christians are to reflect His Light to a world that is still in great darkness.  We, too, are to pierce the darkness with our light, lighting the path of truth for those around us.

And so, my young pleas of “Daddy! Daddy! More yites!” still today make sense.  May we as followers of and lovers of the Light of the World Who is also the Creator of the Winter Solstice, take time this Christmas season to tell others why we put up lights—lots of lights—at this beautiful holy season and may we live so that our light literally dispels the darkness around us.

This is Julaine Appling with Wisconsin Family Council wishing you and your family, a most blessed Christmas and reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

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