I love to be aware of the changing light as each season gives way to the next: spring to summer, summer to autumn, autumn to winter. Sometimes now, as I grow older, I note the times of sunrise and sunset in my calendar, watching one season gently curve into the next season.
It’s not a coincidence that the date of Christmas follows closely on the heels of the winter solstice. Through the ages, people have observed the changing seasons, the days with darkness fast on their heels, coming before it’s time for dinner. When I was younger and not conscious of how quickly one season rolls into the next, -and how unrelenting the changing of light was/is, I complained as I left work at 4:30 in the afternoon, the sky already in nighttime darkness. Night falls early in northern climates. It takes the strong spirit of a human being to hold on to hope when darkness is the longest part of each day.
No wonder the ancient people honoured the darkest days. No wonder they lit fires, bringing warmth to the darkness. No wonder our ancestors danced in the darkness, dancing to remind the light to return!
No wonder that people of different faiths honor this time of darkness, before the Light comes!
Thankfully, each cycle of the year continues to roll in a circular fashion, bringing us back to the time of darkness, not stopping, but rolling on, the end of this year, the beginning of the next.
As Christians, we honor this season of darkness by telling the story of the Child, born into a dark world to bring Light to wounded hearts. We tell the story again and again, because, like human beings of all times and places – we need to be reminded. We hold on to hope, the promise of the child whose life lays before them, and in that way, we hold on to hope for ourselves. In a Season of darkness, we come with our begging bowls, begging for Light.