Please join us over the next several weeks as we journey through this Advent season. We will be hearing from many of our City Church staff as well as members of the congregation as we all ponder the mysteries of this season. Today’s contribution comes from City Church member, Dr. Debbie Buchanan.
Today, December 21st, the sun will rise at 7:04 a.m. and set at 5:35 p.m. This is the shortest day of the year with the sun offering only 10 hours and 31 minutes of daylight. The winter solstice will occur in the northern hemisphere at precisely 10:27 a.m. This is the exact moment that the sun will appear to stand still in the sky and seemingly waver between continuing to rise and returning to set. We know that the reason this occurs is because the sun has reached its southern-most position as seen from earth and seems to stand still before it reverses its direction. However, during these moments of sun-stillness some of our ancestors were gripped with fear that the sun would choose to begin its descent once again and return the earth to darkness. They waited in hopes that the sun would choose to share its light with the world. And the sun always did!!
Growing up in Michigan, I recognized the winter solstice as the longest and darkest night of the year. It was gloomy and frigid during most of the winter months anyway, but the shortness of sunlight on this one day every year seemed particularly difficult. Day after winter day, I stared out of our picture window as the snow relentlessly fell from the sky filling our world with a soft puffy white that would soon turn the roads and sidewalks into salty gray mushy hazards. Yes, enduring a dark winter season was a challenge, but I knew with a biblical hope of confident expectation that spring would return and our part of the world would once again be filled with light and life. And spring always returned!!
Is it possible that God, in His infinite wisdom, intended for us to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the one true light of the world, during the winter solstice? As it happens, from this point forward, the days begin to increase in daylight. Could it be that in this way He shows us that there will always be light coming out of the darkness? Consider the words of Daniel 2: 20-22, “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever .... He changes the times and the seasons; ... He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.” This was evidenced when God offered salvation to all by delivering His son in a period of literal darkness on earth. I truly believe that during winter seasons in our lives, God longs for us to release our darkness to his care and be confident in our hope that the warmth of summer will return. His light serves as an assurance of great things to come. And He will come!!
2 Corinthians 4:6 “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”