Friday, December 21, 2012

December Solstice

It's been almost seven hours since the Earth past that point in its orbit where the days (in the northern hemisphere) start to get longer and the sun begins to make its way higher in our daytime sky. Having friends, relatives and blog readers that are in the southern hemisphere, it occurs to me that the name "Winter Solstice" really only describes the event for half of the Earth.

It's funny that I've never really thought about that before now. I guess the internet and regular contact with those that live Down Under and in other cultures around the world does, in fact, give one an awareness of how others see the world. Just as we look forward to longer, warmer days ahead, our friends from the south might be looking forward to some cooler temps as the sun's angle increases, the temps start to drop and they move towards their fall season.

Unfortunately, that whole radiant heat thing takes a few weeks before we really start to feel the difference. So we still have a few weeks where temps will get colder and they'll still have to deal with their hottest temps of the year. Maybe that's why the solstice marks the beginning of winter (or summer, depending on your location). I reality, shouldn't this mark the mid point of our respective seasons with greatest angle to the sun marking winter's halfway point and the least angle marking mid summer?

I actually look forward to this day and can understand why ancient cultures of the northern hemisphere celebrated it. The sun is returning to its warmer place in the sky. Pagan, Christian or simply Deist, that's something that we can all celebrate.

Sure, some will simply call it an annual event that is dictated by the science of the universe. However, I see the hand of a magnificent Designer that set it all in motion long ago. The size and temperature of the yellow dwarf star that anchors our solar system, the distance and slightly elliptical orbit of our planet, the angle of the axis that provides us with seasons and regulates temperatures to make the Earth hospitable to life, the moon that orbits the Earth providing tides to clean the oceans and circulate the waters; these things are far too complex to have happened by accident.

Saying that today is the first day of Winter is a little depressing. I rather like the idea of celebrating the first day of days getting longer and the slow return of the sun to its rightful and majestic place high in the summer sky. It really is no wonder that ancient cultures saw the sun as a god.

But I'm humbled to know that their god had a Creator, my God.
And my God has provided a way to know Him personally through His son, Jesus.
It's a good time to celebrate that, too!

Merry Christmas and Happy Solstice!
John <><


2 comments:

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Anice, alternative way of looking at it. Merry Christmas and Happy Winter Solstice, John!

John Hill said...

Thanks, Angel. I always appreciate your comments. Thanks for reading Out of My Hat. Merry Christmas.