OK, it's time! A few weeks ago I did a humorous tongue in cheek rant about how early some began to celebrate Christmas. Two weeks before Thanksgiving is too soon for outside lights and Facebook posts! So now that we've finished the Thanksgiving weekend, it's time for Christmas to begin.
But why now? I mean, why do we celebrate thebirth of Jesus on December 25? Most of us know he likely didn't arrive on this day over 2000 years ago, but probably in the fall or spring. Most of us know the early church co-opted the pagan celebration of the winter solstice, the day with the least amount of light. On our calendar it arrives on either December 21 or 22, but older calendars had it on, you guessed it, December 25. The emperor Constantine gave the first recorded Christmas celebration on that day, and a pope made it official a few years later. Now, it's engraved on stone.
Along with stealing the day, the early church redefined the symbols of the season to match faith, and you can easily google that. And, I'm OK with that link to the winter solstice, which my secular friends may appreciate. Yeah, that includes you, John. I like the link to darkness.
We all face darkness. It may vary in size, severity, and style. It can include sickness, death, world troubles (no shortage there!), economic distress, job issues, family problems, sins and bad habits, and more.
We need honesty and transparency about our darkness, because that allows us to receive the power of the metaphor--that the solstice reminds us that the light is coming to overcome the darkness. The entry of the very source of light into daily life. The strength we gain from the Creator living in those who accept him as Savior and Lord. The comfort we receive, knowing he suffered as we do. The joy we experience sharing our lives with others. The purpose we get from having a goal greater than ourselves.
Or, hope. An optimism for the future that present problems cannot diminish. Hope that the light, that entered symbolically on December 25 will continue to grow until the glow of that light permeates the universe.
Kick Starting the Application
What types of darkness do you experience? How do you typically respond to it? Do you get discouraged and depressed, or optimistic and hopeful about the final result? How can you apply the entry of Jesus into human life to your specific darkness?