Find Hope in the Darkest Day of the Year, Or, Why I Love Winter Solstice

The Long Darkness

It’s coming soon. Midwinter. The longest hours of darkness all year. The fewest hours of sunlight.

The hours vary from place to place. New York City, for example, will have 9 hours, 15 minutes of sunlight on winter solstice, whereas its summer solstice will give them 15 hours, 5 minutes of sunlight.

The winter solstice happens when the North Pole is tilted furthest away from the sun.

But what happens with us at midwinter?

Are winters of the soul our longest hours of darkness, too?

What happens when we turn away from the Son?

Why Winter Solstice Makes Me Happy

I don’t like the long, cold darkness of winter. I prefer hot, sunny days when I can go barefooted and wear t-shirts and shorts. I’m comfortable in ease.

But winter solstice brings me joy in a unique way. Why?

Because I know the next day will bring more light. We’ll have turned a corner. And the day after that? Even more light.

There can only be one darkest day. Other days may still be dark, but they’re not as dark as the darkest.

We can celebrate winter solstice as a time of hope. It signals a time to rest. To release old things. To look ahead to new things.

To turn back to the Light.

The Light of Christmas

On the darkest day, use the darkness to pray, to reflect to meditate.

Outer darkness does not imply inner darkness.

At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of true Light. Jesus lit up the world then; he still lights it up in us today.

May the Light inside you burn brightly as we turn to brighter days ahead.

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
– Albert Camus

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Do you like winter? How do you fight the lessening of light? Please share in the comments.

19 thoughts on “Find Hope in the Darkest Day of the Year, Or, Why I Love Winter Solstice

  1. Michele Morin

    Like it or not, winter is a solid reality here in Maine, and since we are on the eastern edge of the time zone, we lose our light early here. Having said that, I’m grateful when snow shows up to beautify the barren landscape, and, like you, I keep track of the moment when the earth starts to tilt back toward the sun. It’s a hopeful thing.

  2. bill (cycleguy)

    I like casual so I like the summer. Only my casual besides shorts or jeans and a short sleeve t-shirt is bike clothing. Sort of hard to wear just bibs and a short sleeve jersey in 20 degree weather. I look forward to the 21st because it means we are on the way out.

  3. Laurie

    What wonderful thoughts about turning toward the Light! I am a summer person too, so adding a minute or two of light to each day after the solstice always brings me a little bit of joy.

  4. Barbara Harper

    That day also happens to be our anniversary. 🙂 We didn’t know when we got married that the date was the winter solstice.

    I have a hard time with winter darkness, and I love this day as a turning point when we get more light each day. I don’t really perceive more light yet for several weeks, but just knowing that we’ve turned that corner lifts my spirits mentally.

    I’ve been specially noticing this year many verses about light, like “The people who dwell in darkness have seen a great light.” I know we don’t know exactly when Christ was born, but I love that we celebrate His birthday in the heart of winter. The verses and symbolism about light just seem even more meaningful when darkness is at its depth.

  5. Joanne

    I am not really a fan of the darkness in winter either so I too look forward to the solstice knowing that it can only get lighter and lighter from there! Thanks for sharing with us at Encouraging Hearts and Home. Pinned.

  6. Lynn D. Morrissey

    Wonderful thoughts, Lisa. And I love that Camus quote. Couldn’t recall the author. More and more, I’ve come to love winter . . . the quiet solitude, even the darkness. Moon and stars shine all the brighter against the black velvet sky, much like diamonds are displayed on black velvet cloths in jewelry stores. Hardly and original metaphor on my part, but the point is that darkness makes the glory shine brighter. God’s glory shines most brightly in our bleakest times. And yes, yes the light grows longer and will usher us straight into eternity one day, where the darkness will be no more. Thank you as always for sharing your en-LIGHT-ening insights!
    Merry Christmas, nearly.

  7. floyd

    I lose sense of time in the short days of winter, but I think they were designed for a time of rest too.

    Each season and day is a gift, the long ones and the short ones.

    It all points to the sovereignty of our Father…

  8. Amanda @ Healthy Motivated Life

    I’ve been saying the same thing this week! It’s tough this time of year when you leave home for work in the morning in the dark, and come home in the evening in the dark. All week I’ve been saying, “it’s almost over for this year! Soon, we’ll have more daylight.” I love your perspective in comparing this to life in general, particularly your thought that “there can be only one darkest day.” Thank you for sharing.

  9. Joanne Viola

    I am not sure of all the reasons but I love this time of year. It is the time of year where the house lights are turned on earlier and the candles are lit. Both bring me comfort and hope as they remind me our God enters in and sheds His light into my heart and circumstances.

  10. Jean Wise

    I am NOT a winter person though it is sunny today in NW Ohio. The amount of cloudy dreary days clouds my soul. I even now have one of those specialty lights on my desk to help during winter. But you are right. There is beauty to winter, hope awaiting, anticipation towards new life. I choose to turn my heart to hope. Merry Christmas good friend!

  11. Lois Flowers

    Aw, Lisa … I LOVE this! I actually like winter, but what you said about there only being one darkest day, and that after that each day gets a little bit lighter … so applicable to real life. I’ve never really paused long enough during this time of year to think deeply about the next year, but this year is different. I’m thankful for you, my friend, and wish you the merriest of Christmases!

  12. Theresa Boedeker

    How interesting that the darkest day and lightest day are not equal in length, at least in New York. As a child you learn about the earth tilting and the days getting shorter or longer. And you assume it is true. And I saw the days get shorter and longer where we lived, but I never really thought much of it until I started traveling. Travel to Alaska in the winter and the sun doesn’t rise until about lunch time, but then sets a few hours later. Wow, was that a lesson in the tilting of the earth. Then one May we traveled to the Caribbean in May. At home it was getting dark maybe a little after 8:30 pm. But being closer to the equator, where they experience very little light and dark change throughout the year, it was dark at 7pm. It was so strange. Sorry for the ramble, but I love science. And sometimes real experience reinforces a simple truth we learned years ago. Sometimes I like to think about where the lightest or darkest part of the earth currently is.

  13. Tammy L Kennington

    I love this, Lisa. “There can only be one darkest day. Other days may still be dark, but they’re not as dark as the darkest.” What a beautiful, Christ-focused perspective. His darkest day became a day of light and hope for sin-soaked souls needing a Savior.

    Merry Christmas!

  14. Faith

    The beginning of winter is the same day as winter solstice. i think for me Midwinter…which will be about 6 weeks from a difficult time cause the pretty snow is usually gone but the ground is all muddy, or there’s brown snowmfrom slush, and i can’t hike trails in mud as it ruins them…..and yet the beginning of winter is so pretty wth our freshly fallen snow ( although currently we only have about 3 inches) plus the beginnning of the winter season is closemto Christmas!!! AND it’s our youngest daughters birthday on winter solstice!! We love the scriptures that talk about the Light of the world.

    Merry Christmas and Happy Winter Solstice!! ?❄️❄️

  15. Amy Johnson

    Oh, I’m with you. I despise winter. I hate all the darkness all the time. But I love your way of looking at it. It’s more positive to think the darkest day is over so now it can only get lighter. Beautiful post. TFS!

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