We passed Winter Solstice today and thank goodness! The days will get a little longer from here on out! The Winter Solstice occurred early this morning, marking the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year. There is only one place I want to be during the shortest day of the year and that is in front of my fireplace in the den, watching T.V. I know, I should be out doing last minute Christmas shopping and getting those last minute deals, but it's just too cold and dark after about 5:30 p.m. But at least I don't live in Alaska, north of the Arctic Circle. For people who live there, it's dark 24-7. I'm also glad that I am off for the Christmas Break. I work about 38 hours a week at a high school as a special education para educator. So this was my first day off for a 2-week vacation!
I actually look at Winter Solstice maybe a little differently than some. I know that it is an ancient Celtic celebration and even some traditional Christmas symbols can also be traced to the ancient celebrations of Solstice. For instance, lights and candles were put out to ward off the darkness and encourage the coming of Spring during Solstice. I love the Celtic influence in Christmas celebrations. I have Scottish ancestry and very much appreciate watching the 'Celtic Women' Christmas PBS Special each year. For me, it is one of the things I look forward to every year.
Since we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ very soon, I look at today, this most dark of days and ask myself what it was like for the world before the Savior was born. The world's inhabitants had no way to save themselves from their own sins. We are taught that nothing can dwell in the presence of God that isn't perfect. And since all of us sin, man was doomed to live outside of Heaven and dwell in their sins forever, spiritually dead. How dark was that? I'd say it couldn't get much more. How much it meant to the world when finally the Savior was born, the only one who would be able to save the world from its sins. Because of His birth, the world came out of darkness and was given hope.
"Because He came to earth, we have a perfect example to follow. As we strive to become more like Him, we will have joy and happiness in our lives and peace each day of the year. It is His example which, if followed, stirs within us more kindness and love, more respect and concern for others.Because He came, there is meaning to our mortal existence.Because He came, we know how to reach out to those in trouble or distress, wherever they may be.Because He came, death has lost its sting, the grave its victory. We will live again because He came.Because He came and paid for our sins, we have the opportunity to gain eternal life." -Thomas S. Monson, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
And so, Winter Solstice is a very fitting preliminary event to Christmas, reminding me of how dark the world was before Christ's birth and how much brighter the world was, after His birth. May you have a wonderful holiday and enjoy it in the ways that are special to you! Thanks for letting me share!