I think about the year sometimes.
There is such a pattern to the years of life. Although every year is different in many ways, every year is also the same in many ways.
I've been thinking about it since my last post, where I began to discuss the solstices and equinoxes.
Building off what I started to discover in that last post, here's the deal:
Christmas is clearly a celebration of the Winter Solstice. Actually, it is a celebration of the passing of the Winter Solstice. I know this, because my birthday is December 22, and that is the actual Winter Solstice, the shortest, darkest, coldest day of the year. Christmas comes three days later, and New Year's a full week after that. Clearly, God planted Christmas at the turning point, when days start to grow longer instead of shorter. I once sang in a Christmas cantata called, "Hope Has Come." I often think how astoundingly correct that title was. The advent of hope. The turning of the tide. The incarnation of the Savior. The beginning of the end of sin's dark rule over humanity. I am sure that this is divine purpose, and not coincidence.
One cannot help but notice that Easter happens near the Spring Equinox. At Easter time, we find ourselves rejoicing that the days are not only getting longer, but that the hours of the day have shifted to provide more light than dark during their 24 hours. I think this is God's way of using nature to reflect what He is doing in the process of history. After Jesus died and rose again, the human race received a clear pathway to glory. Just as Jesus' birth turned things from ever-increasing darkness and doom to ever-increasing light and hope, Jesus' death and resurrection sealed the promise of the victory of good over evil.
And yet, there are promises to come. There will be the fullness of the Lord, in all His glory, dwelling with His people, face to face. There will be an end to all that is sad, disappointing, destructive, hurtful and dangerous. There will be beauty and light and life everlasting, perfect redemption, perfect bodies, perfect personalities, perfect community, perfect joy.
This was paradise in Eden; this was how Creation stood at the outset. Then sin crept in; decay began and begat death. Pride, selfishness and unbelief led to disobedience, which led to shame and separation from God, which led to the increase of sin and the shading out of God's image in the world. I'm not sure where this all falls in relation to the rhythms of a year and the Fall Equinox. The Fall (the theological fall into sin, not autumn) must have preceded the Fall Equinox, because it was the Fall that ushered sin into the world and began the deterioration at the very beginning, when we first lost paradise. The Fall Equinox comes later in the cycle and would symbolize Satan's expanding rule as prince of the earth, his growing power.
That entire half of the year, when darkness starts to grow following the Summer Solstice, and continues to grow until it threatens to overtake the light at the Winter Solstice (perhaps nearly does so in some polar climes), that half of the year symbolizes the period of human history between the Fall of Man and the Birth of Christ.
The birth of Christ changes the direction, reshapes the trajectory. The birth of Christ leads to His crucifixion and resurrection, and the swell of life-giving light into lives that will accept it.
The Winter Solstice leads to the Spring Equinox.
And then the Summer Solstice.
I have to believe that the Summer Solstice symbolizes the Second Coming of Christ, the completion of the New Heavens and the New Earth. The first creation broke and moved towards darkness and decay, but the New Creation will be perfect and last forever, eternally.
The Summer Solstice forever.
I cannot wait.
Except for the people who still need to put their faith in Jesus before He comes. For them I can wait. But oh, may they hear and believe. Open their eyes and their hearts, Lord Jesus.
And then, please come soon.
He who testifies to these things says,
“Surely I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
~Revelation 22:20 (ESV)