Winter Solstice: Light is coming into darkness

Today the winter solstice happened.

(Summer Solstice in Southern Hemisphere.) It was at 04. 49 Greenwich Mean Time, so I'm told. That was when the North Pole was tilted furthest from the sun, giving those of us who live in the northern hemisphere the longest night of darkness and the shortest day of light hours. I had to look this up as usually in the UK the shortest day is 21 December. I spent yesterday thinking it was the shortest day but it wasn't. It's today, as it often is here. The winter solstice varies between the 20th - 23rd December. A 20th December solstice is rare. The next one is due in 2080. The last 23 December solstice was 1903 and the next is due in 2303. I won't be around to see those!

I looked for the winter solstice sunrise this morning.

It was just after 08.00 but there was no sun to be seen for the clouds. I have to take the sunrise on trust. It is light now, but rather gloomy light. I'm one of those people who longs for the light in the winter and looks forward to the days starting to get longer.  So having a mid-winter feast makes sense to me. It's a way to get through the darkest time with some compensatory celebrations.

For me the most significant celebration is yet to come.

We are still in Advent, the period of preparation for the coming of Christ. The celebration starts on 24/25 December and continues until Epiphany on 6 January. Christmas is Christ Mass - the feast of Christ. It celebrates the birth of Jesus, which is something we can understand. The greater celebration is of what that birth signifies for Christians, the Incarnation. God entering into all the messiness of our world, all its darkness, pain and grief, as much as its light, joy and merry-making. Like the sunrise this morning, that is something I take on trust. The sun is shining even when I cannot see it.
"The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it." John 1:5
It has happened. It goes on happening. Even when I can't feel God's presence, God is here. God is with us - that is what Christmas means to me.

We seem to be well ahead with our preparations for Christmas this year. I've even had time to write this post, having not blogged since the 1st Sunday of Advent.

If you are busy, why not take a few moments for a pause point today?

Listen to this beautiful Advent Song and look at the images. These are all from Scotland, where it is even darker just now - but the light is coming into this dark world. Christian believer or not, you may find this video calming at what can be a stressful time.

Advent Song

Look, God,
look, in the vastness of your dark
hear this song
in the chorus of the world
where I sing
for the glory of your coming
held by love
as the music pours from me
a flame within
as the night falls around me
hear my prayer
and come through the darkness
hold me waiting
as you wait to be born.

(Words by Christine McIntosh)


  1. I'm glad you've discovered Christine's Advent Song. I think it's beautiful. I agree that the dark days we're having at the moment are hard work, but Christmas is almost here, bringing the best light of all.

    1. Christine McIntosh has some lovely reflections on her blog and I love this Advent Song. According to a friend we've had 5 more seconds of light today than yesterday. And the light who is Christ is always coming into our world. Happy Christmas!


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