Winter Solstice

by Melissa Taft

by Diane Woodrow

I wrote an article during our “lockdown Christmas” last year about my feelings regarding winter and slowing down. I also wrote an article in 2017 about the Winter Solstice and how the sun stands still for the few days from solstice to Christmas day. So it looks as if I have a bit of an affinity with this time of year. 

I do love the roll into winter. I love the ways the days get rapidly shorter and I have to rethink my dog walking times–because by 4 pm it isn’t fun to walk around the park. Though I also love that if I can get out before 7:30 am, I can watch the sun rise over the trees in the park. This is a time when I just pray out loud giving glory to God. Christine talked about the Wow factor of Advent and for me, every sunrise is a “Wow!” factor. 

This morning I was blown away starting my walk lit only by street-lighting, then seeing the clouds start to get tinged with light and come into definition. Even though the sun still hadn’t fully risen by the time I got home, the world had come into definition. That to me is so awesome. It truly is “new every morning” and I can then remember “Great is his faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:23). So no matter my mood when I start my walk I come to a place of being with God and giving my morning over before I return home. 

I noticed this last year and again this year, people are putting their outdoor Christmas lights on earlier and earlier. I know it has been said that because of the pandemic and other things, life is bleak so people need lights; but the posts by Liz of Pocket Fuel have made me think. In the daily emails for the first week of December, she explored how we seem to no longer embrace the darkness as our ancestors would have and how from that we miss out on things – like trusting God in the darkness. 

It got me thinking about how our ancestors, and I’m talking pre-Industrial revolution, would use the winter season as a time for gathering the family, of sharing the tales that made up their culture. This is when the stories were retold about heroes, monsters, family history, how the earth came into being, etc. But now we have made the winter, especially this run-up to Christmas, so busy–whether that is rushing round buying, partying, Church services, etc. It is all busy, busy, busy, when in fact our bodies are crying out for us to slow down and the next generation needs to hear our stories, our history, our faith tales. 

I am lucky in that in my freelancing work I have been healed of the need to see planning and money as the driving force and have moved more into trusting God to provide so I am more able to roll with the seasons and the daylight hours. But I still have had to think through how not to get sucked into being busy in church, feeling guilty for not saying Yes to everything, for making a quieter way. It isn’t easy. It is countercultural. It takes focus, but I am trying. 

So as I allow this season and this shortest day to enfold me I listen to my heart – because it is my heart that connects me with God – and then ask my heart what it is thinking and feeling. I breathe and pray and then feel safe. I want to learn all this so I can take the slowness of the darker season into the spring and summer.

Picture by myself of the view on one of my dog walks at about 7:30 am

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Join Christine Sine and Lilly Lewin on Wednesday, January 5th 2022 at 9am PDT (check my timezone) for our next FB Live happening on our Godspace Light Community Facebook Group! Can’t make it? No worries–we upload the sessions on our youtube channel so you can still enjoy the lively discussions and interesting topics. And catch us live for the next session–happening here every other Wednesday!

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