We’re all familiar with autumn days becoming shorter as the sun begins to show its light a little less. With every turn of the earth, our days move closer to the winter solstice and soon afterward a celebration of Christmas. As this daylight transition progresses, I find myself waking up to darkness and often making an early dinner as the sun is setting. The days seem to roll past too quickly and our evenings get longer and longer. This lack of sunlight can be hard for a gal who spends a lot of time outside, but it can also be hard collectively as we all begin to navigate less light and more darkness.
There is a silver lining here, as less sunlight can also bring the blessing of slowing down. Settling in earlier, not seeking out every last possible chore before the sun sets. Lighting candles, sitting by the fireside, watching tv series in dimly lit rooms all bundled together. Yes, less sunlight has its place. But this year seems different for me for some reason, maybe it’s the fact that we are empty nesters for the first time. No longer are our evenings filled with gym time watching volleyball. We find ourselves finished with dinner and chores and settling in for what seems to be a long evening without the light.
I wonder if this feeling has been felt throughout the ages? I’m certain most along the way have seen a need to make an adjustment each solstice season. But as I think about this time of year, winter solstice and Christmas, I can’t help but compare the two and be delighted by the significance. Isn’t it fascinating, here in the northern hemisphere, we celebrate Christmas around the longest day of the year? I find it interesting that as we navigate the lack of physical sunlight, the reason for celebrating Christmas is due to the fact that the very Light of the world was born into our darkness. The darkness I see and feel throughout these longer evenings is just a reminder why Christ came and the beautiful light of hope that He offers to everyone.
In the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice will be at 3:47 pm on December 21st ushering in the 1st day of winter with the shortest day of the year. Then, just a few days later, we will celebrate the birth of Christ and remember the hope of the world rests in the plan of a loving God who would allow His Son to be born, humbly, and be Emmanuel, God with us.
A quick google search will show what we all know to be true; natural light helps us produce vitamin D, regulates our rhythms and sleep patterns, motivates us to be more productive and can make us happier. While natural light has these benefits and more, what does the Light of the world bring to our reality? As a woman of faith, I would say the coming of Jesus brings us everything necessary for life. I’ll defer to author, Scott Erickson, in his book Honest Advent as he explains the Light of the world beautifully.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.
John 1:4-5 NLT
“The function of light is to help us see more clearly.
Jesus’ life helps us see our own lives more clearly.”
The darkness of autumn and winter remind me of my need and deep desire for physical sunlight but this darkness also is a quiet reminder of my need and deep desire to see my life more clearly through the lens of the Light of the world.
This month, with the sunrise at nearly 7:00 am and setting a short 10 hours later, allow your mind and heart to see the beauty of the longest day followed by the ultimate celebration of Light - the birth of a Savior. The Light that helps us see ourselves more clearly.