Friday, December 21, 2007

Winter solstice

[By] the tender mercy of our God
. . . the sunrise shall dawn upon us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:78-79, ESV margin; cf. RSV)

Today is December 21, the winter solstice. Tonight will mark the longest night of the entire calendar year here in the northern hemisphere--just over fifteen hours here in Michigan, to be exact. Although it was temporarily denounced by the Church as syncretic, I think it's beautifully fitting that the celebration of the Messiah's historical birth has been joined with this solar phenomenon. (The solstice, though actually occurring any time between December 20-23, was marked by December 25 on the old Julian calendar.) Though this is the longest night, from tomorrow onward the daylight hours will know only increase.

Christ comes to us in like fashion. From his coming onward, the night of sin, death, and the world's evils has no choice but to flee before his dawn of his coming. "The darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining" (1 John 2:8). Hence he is worshiped as the Dayspring. Jesus is born quietly into the darkness of night and the tyranny of oppression--Mary and Joseph were in Bethlehem because they lived in forced submission to the authority of Rome--but with him comes the light of forgiveness, freedom, peace, victory, and the knowledge of God. We know not all of it yet; but we have seen the rays of light peeking over the horizon, and we live in hope that the full light of day is merely a matter of patient waiting. "He who testifies to these things says, 'Surely I am coming soon.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20)


Ted M. Gossard said...

Yes, Andrew. It's interesting how the church calendar was drawn. I wouldn't mind learning more, but I especially think that to follow it to some extent anyhow, is helpful.

Thanks for this reminder. It is amazing how different it is when our souls have a shadow hanging over them for any number of reasons, compared to when the sun/Son of righteousness breaks through. Like night and day. I find this important to remember when my way seems shrouded in darkness.

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

"we live in hope that the full light of day is merely a matter of patient waiting"

True in many areas of our lives, as long as we're patiently waiting on the right One.

"Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass." 1Thess5:24