In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn’t overcome it. (John 1:4-5 WEB)
I, Beth, know there’s debate about when to celebrate Christmas. I don’t know all of the scholarly research and although I haven’t read all of it I must say I am thankful for the choice of December 25th. I’ve read that part of the reason for picking December 25th was because of the darkness and winter solstice.
For fourteen years our family lived on the island of Guam. Bobbing around the ocean at thirteen degrees north of the equator, Guam was wonderful with plenty of sunshine and summer weather all year round. Each December we gathered at the beach to celebrated
Christmas with snorkeling and a barbecue. With copious sunshine, and sometimes forgotten sunscreen, tropical winters gave a whole new meaning to Santa’s red suit! We were soon use to the warm winter weather of the tropics. However, things change. Jingle Bells, Coconut Shells, Santa ‘s coming now
Instead of driving eight reindeer he rides a caribou!
The next assignment, with the mission, saw our family move to Vienna, Austria, forty-eight degrees north of the equator. That put an end to the tropical winters and December barbecues on the beach. We traded our flip-flops in for furry warm boots, our t-shirts for sweaters, and our raincoats for thick warm jackets. Instead of snorkeling in December we made snow men and battled the world with snowballs.
Sunburned noses were replaced by cold winter red noses. It became a new lifestyle with new traditions. As our first November in Austria rolled around we experienced seasonal changes and a lack of sunshine. Not just sunshine, but daylight appeared to disappear.
It’s amazing what you forget when you live one place long enough. You know this, as do I, but the implications didn’t fully sink in for a while. One thing I forgot was the darkness of the winter months.
I grew up in Maine and upstate New York. I realize some people object to Christmas being celebrated around the winter solstice and its possible relationship to pagan rituals. Still, I again say, I am thankful! When it is darkest and the days are the shortest I can understand “light in darkness” better. It lifts my spirits greatly.
When Jesus walked the earth His light was so different many didn’t believe but shielded their eyes. They were familiar with the darkness. Even today, when people see what Jesus’ light reveals, people turn their heads so they don’t have to look. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who lived in the land of the shadow of death, on them the light has shined.” (Isaiah 9:2 WEB)
Believers, when they are in the midst of trials, search for the light. Once you have experienced long, consistent, days of light a shorter day seems oppressively dark. When a believer finds himself in the darkness his love for the light of God takes on a more profound understanding.
Praise the Lord for Christ’s birth, the Word incarnate. In the short days, in the long darkness of winter, I am reminded and reflect more on the sacrifice of God in sending His Son. When darkness is greater than light I’m anxious for each bit of light, each ray of sunshine, I can find in a day. When the darkness rolls away I thank God again for His love. Of course this awe and celebration and worship can happen all year and anytime we reflect on His saving power!
Again I rejoice! In our home we celebrate with colored lights, candles, decorations, warmth and family at the darkest time of my year. We get up in the dark and it gets dark early. When the winter darkness is here we have lots of snow and fog. We seldom see the sun. I am glad the celebration of light in darkness is shown clearly in my roots and traditions with colored lights, candles, decorations, warmth and family to celebrate! How do you celebrate in the darkness? Do you see the light shining?
Again, therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12 WEB)