Dear sisters and brothers –
A part of me always looks forward to this day – for today is the Winter Solstice. (If you need a scientific explanation, my husband Rick will be glad to provide you one on Sunday, like he did for me – again – last night, and, um, like he does for me every year!) The thing is, after tonight, we turn a corner: the days ever so slowly start to get longer in the northern hemisphere. Translate: MORE LIGHT in the Pacific Northwest. Yes, I suffer from a bit of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) so this is music to my ears.
But still the thing is, Winter Solstice is also the longest night – yes, the last longest one for a while, but dang, it is LONG and DARK. You may have noticed: the whole month is. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to celebrate Christmas in the southern hemisphere where it’s summer right now. But here we are in winter darkness.
Some churches have a Blue Christmas or Longest Night service to acknowledge the sadness, grief and depression that many people struggle with this time of year. I led such a service some years ago, and we each lit a candle for the dear ones we had lost, or were missing in our lives. I swear it took me 5 minutes to say the names of my parents outloud I was so overcome with grief. It’s not always like that, I’m not always on the edge, but that was a hard year for some reason, and some years are harder than others.
Christmas, and all the expectations of Christmas, often make it harder. Spending time with families that aren’t perfect; or having no family to spend time with. Spending too much money on presents that don’t satisfy, or we don’t need; or having no money to spend.
One of the reasons I am glad Christmas does come in our deep, dark winter is we point to the promise that in Emmanuel, God-with-us, meets us right where we are. Jesus Christ the LIGHT shines in the darkness of sin, and grief and evil and the darkness cannot put it out. It’s not just a dark season that is changed, but our very can be transformed by God’s amazing light and love.
Part of my new favorite poem (you might hear it again on Sunday) puts it this way:
Let me tell you the Good News:
There is Good News.
goodness, somewhere, rushing toward us in the place where future meets present tense.
Hope unwinds across the fragile world and whispers its nightmares away.
The text this Sunday is the Christmas story from Luke 2:1-20. Read it through a couple times –a listen with your heart – notice what touches you, what do you love?
Looking forward to seeing you Sunday.
O come let us adore Him!
The Holy Family by Margret Hofheinz-Döringhttp://bit.ly/rK5376