The days are shortest leading up to Christmas. Centuries ago, they would celebrate the Roman Festival Natalis Solis Invicti or Birth of the Invincible Sun. This festival was celebrated on December 25 beginning in 275. Apparently, there has always been something scary about the dark and joy in the discovery of light.
In 320, Pope Julius I chose December 25 as the date for Christ’s birthday and five years later in 325 Constantine introduced Christmas as an immovable feast to be celebrated on December 25th every year.
Before we can get to Christmas and December 25th, we must travel through December 21st and the longest night. This day has the shortest amount of daylight and consequently the most hours of darkness.
For anyone who has been lost in the dark, I do not have to tell you about the joy of finding even the smallest amount of light.
Light and Dark. Joy and Despair. Each is made greater by its counterpart.
God must have understood that when he chose to send us his Son as a baby.
The pains of birth for Mary and Joseph gave way to joy with a new baby!
Our pain in this world – filled with mistakes, tragedy, and regret can give way to Joy when we discover the light brought forth at Christmas.
And perhaps in the midst of our darkness the simple glimpse of light we find at Christmas can give us hope that a better day filled with more light is just around the corner.
See you Sunday … I’ll be the one gazing at all the Christmas lights.