Advent Day 35 of 50: Solstice
In the midst of Advent, an important astronomical event takes place in the Northern Hemisphere. Its importance is connected with our journey and with Christmas. The event is the Winter Solstice, and it usually takes place on December 21 or 22. It is the shortest day of the year. For several years now, the day has been set aside to honor the memory of all those who have lost their lives while without shelter. It is used to focus attention on the homeless population because it is the longest night of the year and signals the beginning of Winter.
On the Day after the Winter Solstice the days begin to grow longer. In several cultures the Solstice is celebrated because longer days mean more light and more heat. It is known as the celebration of the Sun. Our Sun starts appearing for longer and longer spurts on the days following the Winter Solstice. You can imagine that in a time before electricity, how important and vital longer days were to survival. There were festivals celebrating the Birth of the Sun!
Interestingly enough, the celebration of the Birth of the Sun was on a collision course with the Birth of the Son, but it wouldn’t be until the 4th century.
For today, we pray a couple of verses from St. Nersess Shnorhali’s Avarod Louso
Morning of light, O thou righteous Sun, shed on me thy light. O Father’s Spirit, pour forth from my soul, words pleasing to thee. Treasure of mercy, of thy hidden wealth, make me a finder. The door of mercy, open thou for me, with angels rank me. Amen.
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