The winter solstice is today at 5:23 PM EST. Shortest day of the year. Bah! Humbug!
If your church even mentions the word “solstice” that would probably put you on the SBC exclusion list. That would be terribly pagan, but many SBC churches these days like to be on the cutting edge of eccelsiastical practice with things like fog machines and zip lines. Can solstice parties be far behind?
From where I am these short days make it easy to get in a sour state and I confess that I look forward to this day. I get a little morose as the days shorten. It’s cold. The sun doesn’t shine on many days. It’s wet. The birds aren’t singing and the flowers aren’t blooming. Mildly depressed might be the way to put it but pastors are seen as weak and unspiritual if they confess to the slightest degree of depression. In my case it’s no big deal. I’ve never had trouble functioning. The extra measure of irascibility is hardly noticeable, though my cat senses that it would be good to stay out of kick range.
Some people are apt have more serious depression and most readers will recognize the acronym SAD, seasonal affective disorder. It’s a listed malady. To be candid, it was a revelation to me when I first noticed that there was a correlation between the shorter days and the way I sometimes felt. You should visit your doctor if you recognize a more serious and prolonged period of depression at this or any time of year. Most pastors, I think, have busy schedules between Thanksgiving and Christmas – activities, parties, church events, and the like, Christmas decorations, shopping, music, etc. Perhaps these mask the mental and emotional difficulties caused by shorter days.
Where I live, when daylight standard time kicks back in, the sun sets at around 5:30. When I lived in Memphis, the sun would set before the 5 PM and most people would commute home in the dark. Ridiculous. If it weren’t for BBQ and the fact that I met my wonderful wife there, I’d have bad memories of the place. OK, Elvis was a plus too.
Actually, there are a lot of reasons to like winter. There are some really warm and pleasant December days. The largest bass I ever caught was on a balmy day in mid-December. It snows around here once a year or so, a very exciting thing unless you need to drive in it with all the crazies.
The pagans, and they’re still around, thought the solstice was significant in that it showed that the sun wasn’t going to disappear completely. The winter solstice means that spring is on the way. While January in Georgia is usually cold and messy, you can always find a few flowers that bloom late in the month. February has some warm and sunny weekends when every yard idiot is at Lowe’s buying lawn and garden stuff. Then it’s soon March and then Spring and happy warm, longer days are here again.
I’m not sure I could live in Alaska or even Minnesota. Why would anyone if they had a choice?
My house faces due south. It is aligned precisely north and south and years ago I marked the spot on my deck where the shadow of my roof peak fell at noon on the winter solstice. From this day forward the shadow of the roof will start slowly retreating. Being semi-retired, I can watch this happen. It falls somewhere between watching paint dry and grass grow on the excitement scale.
So, happy solstice. Every day for the next six months will be longer, thank the Lord. The heavens and the heavenly bodies declare the glory of God. He put all this in motion and the Lord is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow; winter, spring, summer, and fall. Thank God for that.
And did they ever get around to shooting the inventor of daylight savings time?