This Christian Winter Solstice Prayer will help you connect with God in new and profound ways. Here are the ways I have celebrated the longest day of the year by making it a milestone of faith.
My changed perspective about the Winter Solstice
A recent trip to my hometown reminded me why I didn’t like the fall/winter months as a child; I didn’t like the gray skies and short days. Growing up in Illinois was not fun for me during those long winter months. The long hours indoors were stifling at best, and I wound up being sick a lot.
Here I am in the mid-years of my life, and my perspective has changed with my advancement in years.
October rolls around and the days start to get shorter in a hurry. Night seems to come crashing down as the Fall skies give way to longer winter nights. Creation seems to scurry toward hibernation. Running away with the light and avoiding the colder winter nights, an emptiness rises up from the withering, drying leaves; there is a silence that begins to overtake the world at large. The created world around us races headlong toward a singular event that changes everything every year: the “Winter Solstice”.
The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the solar year in the northern hemisphere. On this shortest day of the year, I plan to be outside and experience some of the long winter night. I want to soak up this event, and enjoy every moment I can of the Winter Solstice. This “day of days” for me is my own personal celebration every year. This day holds the kind of meaning for me that I can only describe in this way: If I were living on my own out in the backwoods on a mountain in Colorado, the Winter Solstice would be my New Year’s Day.
God created the Winter Solstice long before any other religions began
There are many Winter Solstice celebrations that have pagan origins. Most of them are celebrating the onset of winter, or the change in the shorter to longer days. There are also some celebrations of other gods that are part of old cultural traditions. None of these encapsulate my reasoning for celebrating this day.
So, why would a Christian celebrate a day that is a noted pagan holiday? Let me ask you a question in return: Did you know that God named the constellations in the night sky?
Not every event on the calendar associated with pagan religions have their origins in the religions. God created the constellations, why would he not know their names? In the Old Testament book of Job, chapter thirty-eight, we find the names for a couple of constellations that God created.
Follow along with me as we take a look at the Winter Solstice from a Christian perspective.
God’s message in the long dark night
The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year, and the longest night. The valuable meaning is that the night can get no longer, the days can get no shorter, and a few short months from that day all of Creation will once again bloom with life. The long dark of night will give way to morning, which will give way to more time of the sunlight shining down to make the earth once again show signs of life. With the advent of Spring, an explosion of color will then envelope the hillsides and flowerbeds as God shows off his mind-blowing colorful arrangements of flora and fauna. There is hope once again for warmer days in the sun.
This is also the annual example of God showing that he is the master of created Order. There is no chaos in his creation. Everything happens by his design and will. All of creation, and I do mean “all” is under God’s command and control. We know this from the book of Job, where God asks Job and his companions an extended question. In the thirty-eighth chapter we pick up at verse twenty-five:
“Who cuts a channel for the flooding rain
or clears the way for lightning,
to bring rain on an uninhabited land,
on a desert with no human life,
to satisfy the parched wasteland
and cause the grass to sprout?
Does the rain have a father?
Who fathered the drops of dew?
Whose womb did the ice come from?
Who gave birth to the frost of heaven
when water becomes as hard as stone,
and the surface of the watery depths is frozen?
Can you fasten the chains of the Pleiades
or loosen the belt of Orion?
Can you bring out the constellations in their season
and lead the Bear and her cubs?
Do you know the laws of heaven?
Can you impose its authority on earth?
Can you command the clouds
so that a flood of water covers you?
Can you send out lightning bolts, and they go?
Do they report to you: “Here we are”?
Who put wisdom in the heart
or gave the mind understanding?
Who has the wisdom to number the clouds?
Or who can tilt the water jars of heaven
when the dust hardens like cast metal
and the clods of dirt stick together?”
God is asking Job and his friends who is in charge of all creation, who set it all into motion, and who has the master control switch for everything that happens. The answer to all of these questions is “only God.” God has ordered that the earth will reach a point where the North Pole will be at its farthest point away from the sun. That event will happen at a precise time on a precise day. After that, the earth will then begin the process of tilting the North Pole back toward the sun to bring warmth back to the northern hemisphere. This is an orderly process.
The Winter Solstice reminds us that God is still in control
Dear reader, God is in control. We are not. That should bring comfort to our souls.
When someone says, “the sea levels are going to rise!” I’m always brought back to this very same thirty-eighth chapter of Job where God says, “You may come this far, but no farther; your proud waves stop here…” He is the God of order. He is in control. This brings peace to my life. The same message tolls over and over again from Old Testament to New in the Bible from God to us: Do not fear.
That same peace is why I will be outside on the Winter Solstice taking time to revel in the long darkness, because I know that in God’s order of creation the next day will be longer. And the next day will be even longer. Life will once again return to the earth as creation shakes off her wintery slumber, waking once again for the return of the Spring.
At some point, God will set all of Creation right for good. We have the hope of the future when the City of God will be here on the earth. There will be no more long dark nights. There will only be day:
“And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.” (Revelation 21:23-25 ESV)
Where is your hope? With whom does it lie? Who holds your future? If your hope is found in God the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and His Holy Spirit here with us, then join me outside on the night of the Winter Solstice and give thanks to the God of order who gives us hope for an end to the long, dark night.
Christian Winter Solstice prayer
Father, we thank you that you have created all that we see, and have ordered it according to your purpose and plan. We acknowledge that you created this world and all the stars we see in the night sky. You named the stars as you hung them in the heavens; yet you care far greater for us. Help us to embrace the purpose and plan that you have for our lives; to embrace the order of our days, so that we can walk with you every step of the way. May we delight in your creation and give glory to your name for all that we have in all that you created. For your beautiful name we pray, amen.
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