Dec the 21 st will the shortest day of the year and likewise the night will be the longest of the year.
For me the solstice is like the bells of Notre Dame that ring to finalize my spiritual preparation for the approaching Birth.
Since the solstice occurs during the latter part of Advent , which in the Christian calendar starts around December the 1st, our hearts should be open for intensification of the impending miracle of the birth of the Christ child.
The winter solstice was a pagan celebration of the reappearance of the sun and this celebration goes back to Neolithic times. Many ancient cultures all over the world celebrated the returning sun with feasts of merriment and wine around the yule log.
Judaism and Christianity both adopted this seasonal happening to mark the time of year with festivals of light, be it Hanukkah or Christmas.
Even though I know it signals the beginning of the winter season, which will bring at least 2 more months of fierce winter cold, I also know that starting from the 22 nd of December the days will grow again longer in increments and the nights shorter.
It is also three days before Christmas Eve with the three being symbolic of the Trinity. The spiritual significance, besides the birth of Jesus, is that light triumphs over darkness.
From a Christian perspective it is the time before the birthing of the One who is full of Light of the Divine, or the Christ child. The days of darkness that precedes this event are preparatory for bringing forth the highest incarnation of Light and Love.
We might think of the darkness of the womb where we all had our first beginnings. The months before we were born the seed of our own life was nestling within the soft dark lining of our mother’s womb.
Our first visions were mere shadows from our watery cavern preparing to become the ultimate physical perfection needed to have the capacity to live in our physical world.
But none of us is just flesh and blood. We all have an inner spiritual soul, chosen before our conception. After our birth our soul within awaits for our spiritual awakening.
For Christians the sacrament of Baptism invites the Holy Spirit to dwell within us so as to be guided in our life’s journey and we are given our Christian names.
For those born of Jewish tradition, sealing the covenant and naming for males is at circumcision and for girls at a blessing in the synagogue at a later time.
Awakening our souls invites illumination which withdraws us from the darkness that can limit our perception of life . In doing so our hearts begin to open to the mysteries of receiving and giving Love.
For some the awakening never comes and they remain in spiritual darkness, a desolate no man’s land. They become blind to the spiritual, and live totally dazzled, yet imprisoned by the illusion of the physical world being all that comprises reality.
When this happens, their soul begins to wither, and risks becoming hardened and opaque. They can neither fully give out light or love, nor can they fully receive any either.
Some become the reckless seekers and devourers of the material world and humanity; accumulating, using and destroying whatever comes into their path. They are many amongst us.
But we are given free will to choose Light over darkness and the winter solstice is symbolic of this choice. The winter solstice is a prelude and a foretelling of the Light that is to come.
For Christians , it is a special time of wonder and amazement awaiting the impending nativity of Christ.
The presiding angel is archangel Gabriel, whom you may remember was the angel who announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she was with child in the Annunciation.
So Gabriel also has the angelic power to work amongst us too whose hearts are open to birthing the Light of the Christ child.
Unfortunately most Christians are caught up in the physical preparations of Christmas, be it toys or gifts to put under the tree or buying all that is needed for the holiday feast. Additionally there are the traditional parties of merriment.
I say unfortunately, not because those activities aren’t lovely and very enjoyable, but they can take you away from some alone time with yourself to pray and meditate.
Grief that is pervasive in my life this season has reorganised my priorities and pulled me away from some preparatory activities that in the past garnered too much attention.
In doing so, it has created even more space if you will to attend to my spiritual needs and preparation to that which holds more promise and Light.
Some questions to ponder might be: In what ways do you want your life to manifest more Light?
What can you do to reflect your own soul’s beacon more brightly amongst those in need of your Light and Love? How can you bring more Light into your soul? How can you be more Loving to yourself and others?
When we connect to another who is also illuminated, our soul sees their Light and vice versa. Some may want to call our soul our higher self and for me it is the spark of God’s individually crafted Love that connect us to Him.
In the Nicene Creed we say God of God, followed by Light Of Light implying that God is of pure Light. The Christmas season reminds us that as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we too are called to prepare for a rebirth of Light within us.
Rebirthing requires that we strive to purify our own souls, so as to allow them to receive more pure light. This increased Light will shine bright like a beacon in the darkness.
So for me, the winter solstice is a reminder that now is the time to cleanse and remove any obstacles in my heart that would prevent my soul from shining even brighter than before.
Just as diamonds in the rough need to be polished so they may reflect the intense spectrum of light, we are called to polish up our soul. Therefore we are able to be filled with a purer Light, that we hope to share with others in the coming year.
Christmas Eve and day is for celebrating the birth of Jesus and the 12 days of Christmas that follows allows me a quieter time to rededicate myself to consciously rebirthing and bringing the Light of Christ into the earth plane by actively integrating this Light into my everyday thoughts and actions.
Although I light candles every night for dinner, I have been specifically lighting an Advent candle to call forth the angelic bearers of the Light to come. I invite you to do the same and by doing so, we can together dispel darkness.
It is this Light within that we will use as Saint Francis of Assisi called us to do in his prayer. Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O come O come Emmanuel!
P.S This is an updated and refreshed post, beloved readers. Hugs