“See amid the winter’s snow, born for us on earth below…”
The winter solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year, in 2020 falling on December 21, with the sun rising at 7:39AM and setting at 4:22PM. Then by December 25, we enjoy 3 whole minutes more of daylight hours! The solstice has, since ancient times, been understood as a time of rebirth and new possibilities. Appropriating the festival, the Church embraced the season as a time to celebrate the birth of a Saviour: a diapered babe, laid in a borrowed manger, but a Saviour even so.
It won’t be until much later that we are truly aware of that subtle change of added minutes to the day but in the meantime, Christmas lights brighten the neighbourhood… and our hearts. For we understand that the child whose birth we celebrate is the Light, in the Word made flesh. “What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:4-5
The light of Christ burns brightly, even in our difficult personal circumstances, even in our troubled world. As we anticipate the yearly remembrance of the birth of our Lord, marked so differently in this Covid year, we also prepare to respond to God’s call. As the meme says “Don’t look for the light at the end of the tunnel. Be the light.”
The garden rests. Icy rain puddles on the ichthys path, soon to be covered with a snowy blanket, there to remain until the sun of early spring does its magic and the cycle begins once again.