The sun was struggling to find the horizon, battling clouds and darkness, as I pulled out of my driveway to come to work this morning. The darkness was almost palpable as I went through the motions preordained by my employer. I struggle, but I refuse to let the darkness win. This afternoon I will make the short commute back home in darkness.
I find that the dark days of winter weigh heavy on my soul, like soaking wet clothes drag a victim below the surface of a lake. The Winter Solstice comes like a desperately needed breath of air and a well-thrown life preserver.
The Winter Solstice means that, from now until June 21, 2018, the days will be getting longer. More sunshine means more energy, more excitement, more life. It’s a powerful reminder that the darkness does not win.
For 2000 years Christians have looked at the signs of the times with expectation. “Surely He is coming soon!” And for 2000 years the darkness has grown.
As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. — Matthew 24:3-14, ESV
Every day we hear about more and more suffering, crime, racism, you name it. Sometimes it is overwhelming. Sometimes we are shocked by how little surprised we are at the moral degradation of society and the apathy of a complacent church.
The Winter solstice encourages me that brighter days are coming. I receive hope and I know that the days of light and life will rise up like a tidal wave nearing the shore.
It also serves as a reminder that, though a spiritual battle still strongly rages, we are assured that “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Psalm 30:5b, ESV). We know that Jesus has risen. Death and the grave have been defeated. And the Son is going to shine again!