People keep telling me, “Jesus is the reason for the season,” but you know what? He isn’t. I mean, I’m a practicing Christian (might get it right someday, if I practice enough), so I’m a fan, but you might as well say the Indianapolis Colts football team are the reason for fall.
Okay, bad analogy. They are.
But the reason for the season is, to start with, the tilt of the earth on its axis as it orbits the sun. Says so, right on Wikipedia. WINTER
So there comes a time when the days are very short and the nights are very long. When you get far enough north, there’s a day when the sun doesn’t rise AT ALL. Then the sun comes up again, and stays longer every day until Winter is over. People celebrated that return WAY before Jesus was born.
Not knowing the date of Jesus’ actual birth (yes, Jesus did actually exist), the Roman Catholic church placed the celebration of it during the Solar New Year celebrations.
First, people were already celebrating. It was easier to redefine the meaning of the celebration than it would be to squash it.
Second, The Festival of the Unconquered Sun? The return of light to a dark world? A new promise of life to come? The birth of a new time? It’s a natural fit.
So the church I go to, Corydon Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is having a Winter Solstice service at 7:00 pm on December 21. Everyone is always welcome. We’ll also have Christmas Eve and Christmas services, of course, but I love it that we’re honoring the Solstice, and our connection to the Earth and the past. After all, as the hymn “O Little Town of Bethlehem” puts it, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Have a character mark the Winter Solstice in some way.