Slow Down This Solstice and Relish The Advent

By Brittany Stewrt

by Danielle Dolin

Today and tomorrow, December 21 and 22, the sun will be the closest to the Earth that it has been all year. People in the US will only get about 7 hours of daylight on Thursday, and folks in the UK about 7 hours of daylight on Friday. The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year and marks when our days will begin to become longer until Summer. This year, the event will also coincide with the peak of the Ursid meteor shower, when the Earth passes through debris left by the comet 8P/Tuttle.

December is a holy month. For thousands of years, cultures around the world have celebrated the Winter Solstice in December. There was an innate call to slow down and listen to the Earth, recognizing the changes lurking. Civilizations like the Mayans, Incas, Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, and more ushered in this day with sacrifices and tributes to the Sun “sol”. Coincidentally, they all included feasts or fasts. And curiously, it is as if these ancient cultures were seeking a spiritual connection to our Lord and Savior but did not know him. So, they celebrated the Solstice and the days to follow, coinciding with Christmas, with gifts, rest, and rituals. The coming of our Savior, Jesus, coincides with the coming of Winter. And, Advent means “coming”.

If you haven’t designated the last few weeks to doing Advent with your family, there is no better time to start than Winter Solstice. As we approach this dark day, the Earth beckons the coming of light. As darkness beckons the rhythms of the natural world, our souls are earnestly waiting to be illuminated. We are waiting for our Savior. The darkness of the Solstice births a waiting and longing that is perfect for purposeful meditation and prayer. It should be a slow day. There is a slow movement to the world, a sacred movement. And if you think about Advent and the coming of the Christ Child, as the world was getting darker, the Star of Bethlehem was the light of the night.

This Winter Solstice, slow down with a cup of tea and devotional. Slow-cook a meal that will warm your family’s bellies or fast in spiritual preparation for the coming birth of Jesus Christ. There are many ways Christians can celebrate Advent with their families. From Advent candles and wreaths to The Jesse Tree; Advent prepares Christians for Epiphany rather than in anticipation of Christmas. Epiphany celebrates the manifestation of Christ by remembering the visit of the Magi and the birth of Jesus.

So, be sure to get your sunshine during those short 7 hours, feeling the warmth of the sun upon your skin. But, as the world becomes darker, recognize the change and slow down. Reflect with your families and communicate your appreciation for God and Life. As this should be a preparatory period of repentance, meditation, and penance.

Brittany Stewart, an accomplished writer and educator, draws inspiration from her 23-year marriage and upbringing near Lake Tahoe in Verdi, Nevada, now residing in Tucson, Arizona. With her Bachelor’s degree in Education, emphasizing Native American Literature and Journalism, Brittany is a multifaceted professional who is also a Licensed Massage Therapist. She is deeply involved in Tucson’s homeschooling community, leading a homeschool group, teaching dance, and offering art classes. She and her family have a homestead in Southern Arizona, where her husband hunts and she tends to the garden, emphasizing the importance of God and family in her life while continually seeking adventure through her travels.

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