Blog #343: How a Christian Can Celebrate the Summer Solstice 

John Cline

Writer Kathleen Quiring, in 2013, wrote the article. “A Christian Celebrates the Summer Solstice”. Because we are instructed in the bible to not worship the sun and the moon and the stars (therefore being different from people of other religions who do so), and because the summer solstice is right around the corner (on June 21st), and because the celebration of any of the four annual solstices (spring, summer, fall, and winter) has never been my practice, nor the practice of any Christian I know, I read the article by Kathleen Quiring in the hope of being able to affirm what she wrote. Happily, I found that I could embrace her words (or, at least, most of them). Here, in part, is what she wrote:

Happy Solstice, everyone! If you hadn’t noticed, today is the longest day of the year. It’s time to celebrate! Here in Canada, cold and darkness dogs us for far too long. But today we celebrate the warmth and light of summer. I’ve been talking a lot this year about observing holidays — both natural and Christian – in order to become more conscious of the spiritual part of me. I’ve been making a conscious effort to be more aware of the sacred, and to infuse my daily and seasonal rhythms with reminders of who I am and Who I belong to. This has included the solar festivals (i.e. the equinoxes and solstices), at which time I reflect on the blessings of my Creator, and celebrate his creativity and lavish generosity.

So. Back to the solstice.

I did a bit of research to get me started. Turns out the word “solstice” comes from the Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still): on the solstice, the sun seems to stand still for a moment before beginning its long descent into sunset.

Quiring then quotes from a book which explains, ‘Unlike the Equinoxes – which are all about sharing nicely between day and night – the Solstices are shameless in their extravagance. There is no talk of balance on the Winter and Summer Solstices! Loads of Dark, or buckets of Light. There is no in between. On the Winter Solstice (the shortest day of the year) the Darkness lays long upon the earth…When we reach the longest day of the year (the Summer Solstice), joy overtakes us and we soak up every last ray of sunlight!’

So, in conclusion, as we have been preaching through the Gospel of John, Jesus says about himself, “I am the light of the world. Whoever has my light will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) Unlike pagan customs celebrating fertility, abundance, and light, we Christians can celebrate God’s creation and His extravagance in it, as well as His faithfulness in annually bringing through each season, including summer, the season of the most sunlight. But, most of all, we celebrate Jesus, God’s light, the world’s light, who came to bring light into this darkened world. As summer will inevitably fade  into fall and then winter and then spring and finally back to summer, once again, let us remember that the Son and the sun will both prevail and that darkness will not overcome the light. 

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