Winter Solstice

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The longest night of the year seems to come when the light of Christmas seems brightest. Winter has arrived, with the coming of the solstice. Solstice is made up of two Latin words, “sol” and “sistere,” meaning “sun standing still.” Every day the sun seems to appear further South, rising a little later, and sets further South a little later. The arc across the sky is at its lowest point, with the sun staying at eye level the longest. But on this day, December 21st, it seems to pause. Every day now for the next six months, the sun will start rising a little further North-East, a little earlier in the day, and set a little further North-West, climbing higher with each new arc. Even though the harshest temperatures and largest amounts of snow are yet to come, with winter threatening to breathe its frosty temperatures well below zero, the sun will already now, start gaining in intensity and strength. Winter has arrived, but spring is coming. This season of Christmas is filled with bright lights and family gatherings, and New Years celebrations with friends. Once that all blows away, freezing temperatures, snow and long nights will be staring us in the face. The earth will still be spinning, and without our even realizing it, the sun will be rising higher and days will be getting longer. Storms may continue to lash the shores, and they too will blow by. Six weeks will pass by and our senses will take note of the lengthening of days. The church calendar will mark the beginning Lent and those next five weeks will draw our attention towards the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Before it even began, winter will have passed us by and spring will have announced its arrival in so many ways. On this longest night of the year, Sue and I would like to wish you and each of your families the brightest of Christmas cheer, lit by the joy of the birth of Christ. May you enter the New Year of 2018 with much optimism and joy. 

Peter Van Geest