Thursday, December 18, 2008

Simple Solstice

since the Winter Solstice is in only 3 more days, I thought I would re-post some ideas that I had from last year

I have been visiting many different blogs the past few weeks and my curiosity peaked when I kept noticing that many were reading books about the solstice or planning celebrations. I had never heard of this before and decided to do a little bit of research on it...and my heart was drawn anew to sweet Jesus coming to us in the darkness as the Light of the world.

In Him was Life, and the Life was the Light of men. And the Light shines on in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it. There it was--the True Light coming into the world (the genuine, perfect, steadfast Light) that illumines every person. And to as many as did receive and welcome Him, He gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become children of God, that is, to those who believe in His name. John 1:4-5,9,12

For thousands of years, different cultures have held celebrations and festivals during the winter solstice. The winter solstice is the "shortest day of the year"...meaning the fewest hours of daylight and the longest night. If you are within 200 miles of the North Pole, it is complete darkness the whole time! These peoples had been afraid that the sun was leaving and may never return...meaning that all plants, all food, all life would perish. They began to realize that this time of solstice wasn't actually the end...it was actually the beginning of the days getting longer again. The sun from this day forward would blaze in its life-giving glory for longer and longer as the days went by. This was cause for celebration for even in the times of seeming darkness, light will come.

Christians adopted December 25th as their time for celebrating Jesus' birth because Romans had a huge celebration for solstice at this time. These believers realized that to celebrate Christmas at this time of year is so appropriate because solstice is a picture of our lives being in spiritual darkness and being without hope in this world. Jesus is the Light Who enters our lives bringing Life, health, newness, and hope. What cause to celebrate!

This year the winter solstice is December 21st and I think it would be a wonderful tradition to begin with our children acknowledging Jesus as our Light and Hope in a dark world. It's a time of quiet and peace where we can be together and create visual images to our children of the Lord and what gifts He gave us when He came. Here are a few ideas to celebrate solstice simply with your children:
  • Have a candlelight dinner. Turn off all the lights in your home tomorrow evening and eat dinner in the dark with a few candles flickering. Talk about Jesus being the Light. Read some Scriptures. Sing some quiet carols or listen to soft music.
  • Light your driveway with luminaries. I think this would be beautiful and even had the thought that it would be nice to write the name of missionaries on each bag as they are lights in dark places of the world. Take time to pray for each of them by name.
  • Begin to use this day each year as a day of service. This is a wonderful day to teach your children what it means to be a light in their communities. As the anticipation of gifts is mounting in their minds, this would be a way for them to focus on giving to others and really experiencing why Jesus came...to preach good tidings to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and to open the eyes of the blind.
  • Encourage a depressed or struggling friend. Many of us have had seasons of our lives when we feel without hope and that our personal darkness will never end. Bless a friend with the Truth that Jesus enters the darkest situations and brings new life and hope. He is not afraid to enter into our times of darkness...that is why He came!
  • Enjoy His creation. Watch the sunrise and sunset. Do some star-gazing. Take a walk.
This can be a special family day of honoring Jesus in a new way and of teaching our children why Christmas is celebrated this time of year. It's interesting to think about how God has ordained the seasons and how reflective it all is of His character, His story and of how He made us.

Enjoy celebrating the Light!

8 comments:

lorraine uk said...

This is a beautiful post.i love the celebration of seasons. The beauty that shines all around us on earth. how lucky we are!!
We are all blessed, but dont always see it.
Am going to re read it again.

Pink Dogwood said...

Thanks for the meaningful ideas! I really liked this post today.

Ginger said...

Thank you so much for your lovely ideas. I enjoy reading your post and learning new ideas that celebrate our Christian Faith and help me to become more like Jesus everyday.

Funky Finds said...

wonderful suggestions! thank you

Hill upon Hill said...

So many good lessons around us.

kelli said...

Ok...I so did not know this!!

I'm so glad you posted this again for those of us who didn't read it last year (and have never heard this).

I can't wait to learn more about this!!

(Hope you're feeling a little better:)

Katrina said...

This was so interesting! Thank you, Aimee. I never new any of this before. Although it's too cold to do anything outside... I definitely want to incorporate the candlelight ideas into our day!

How have you been feeling lately? I've been thinking about you... : )

Prairie Chick said...

wonderful. I just love finding a reason to celebrate Him on any day, but these seasonal one's offer such a great opportunity and I love this one. I have been prone to suffer great depression in the dark of winter, but praise be to my LIGHT who has showered me with His joy and broken the chains of darkness. Celebrating Him.