Friday, December 20, 2013

Our Unifying Cry: More Light!

Before we sing Silent Night in a Christmas Eve candlelight service, before we open presents by the light of our Christmas trees and a new dawn, before we celebrate the New Year with fireworks, we will go through the darkness of the winter solstice.

Decorating the Christmas tree this year
In my part of the world that means tomorrow will have 9 hours, 28 minutes and 16 seconds of daylight and 14 hours, 31 minutes and 44 seconds of darkness.  The next day we’ll gain just two seconds of light.  The second day we’ll gain 6 seconds, then 9 seconds, 13 seconds, and 17 seconds.  Small gains, to be sure, but the light will come back.

I do not like these dark days.  I get sleepy early.  I am less productive.  I am grumpier than I should be.  But there’s something magical and symbolic about this time of year too.  I have thought lately that it would have been ideal to celebrate Christmas on the 22nd of December instead of the 25th.  That would make it both a literal and a symbolic celebration of more light coming into the world.

What I do like about darkness is that it forces us to take notice of it, to contemplate what it is and what it is not.  The darkness can cause us to be introspective, contemplative, and reflective.   

The best network television show of the 1990s (Northern Exposure) had a wonderful episode called Northern Lights.  The show takes place in Alaska where the nights in winter are even longer so of course, light is going to be on their minds.  This last scene from that episode gives me chills.  May it bring some light into your darkest day too.


  1. Oh Chad this is a perfect Seasonal Celebrations post...if you want I would love to add it....yes the darkness brings silence for me and introspection!!

  2. Chad, This is my all-time favorite Northern Exposure episode (which is saying a lot, because there were so many other strong contenders). Thanks for giving me a chance to see all that magical light again; it brought tears to my eyes. -Jean

    1. Jean, I should have known you'd be a Northern Exposure fan too! Whenever I meet someone that loved that show I know I've found a kindred spirit.

  3. Northern Exposure was always a favorite show of ours, too. Living here in Wisconsin, we could relate, ha.

    I spend a lot of time in the dark in the winter, love night skiing. But in the house we're lit up with the stained glass habit all around us which is cozy. The days are getting longer again and I know I should be glad, but I'm rather melancholy. I do like the solitude winter brings.