I don’t remember knowing about Winter Solstice until I was well into motherhood. I knew about the days that marked the change in seasons – but I didn’t learn about Winter Solstice and its celebrations, traditions, and legends as a child.
The well-loved animated series called Little Bear first piqued my curiosity about Winter Solstice. This was one of my favorite cartoons the kids watched. The longest night of the year cannot go by without me remembering the episode that highlighted the way Little Bear and his family celebrated it. YouTube has an entire winter Little Bear collection that includes the episode about Winter Solstice.
Since the first time I watched the beloved Little Bear series with the kids, I’ve learned more about the day that marks the beginning of winter. While it marks the beginning of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, it also marks the long crawl out of the phase of long early nights.
Something else I don’t remember when I was a young girl is paying attention to the long early nights. But as years passed I noticed them more and more. As I got older, the long darkness effected me so significantly that I played with the idea of moving to the sunniest spot in the country. Yuma, Arizona is not for the faint of heart. With the sun comes the intense heat and very low humidity. This Alabama native decided to stick with the long nights instead of dealing with the heat that literally disintegrates things.
This will pass. The days will get longer. After this longest night the daylight increases each day. One minute, then two, then three until eventually the days are long again.
Until then, we wait for what we know is coming. It’s not as if we wait for what we wish might happen. This long night will end.
Here’s a song for the long nights called For the Long Night.
And from our brother Paul translated by our brother Eugene. Peterson that is.
Romans 8:22-28 from The Message:
“All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.
26-28 Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”