It's just past five and it's pitch dark outside. We are waiting in the dark....
That's what Advent is all about--waiting in the dark for the Light to come.
Advent should be a time of reflection, soul-searching and pondering life. Those are ways of being encouraged by darkness. And each day, almost to the end of Advent is a little darker for a little longer. Then on Thursday, December 21, the Winter Solstice, the tilting away from the sun of the Northern Hemisphere stops. It will be the longest night of the year--just 3 days from Christmas Eve, and the tilt toward the sun begins again. A little more light each day.
I've often pondered being a Christian in the Southern Hemisphere--how the symbolism of the church year seems all wrong.
Easter, in the southern part of the globe, comes in fall when the earth is beginning to die, rather than in the spring when the earth is coming back to life.
And Christmas, down beneath the equator comes just after the longest day of the year, when the world is brightest, when there is the most light. How do you talk about 'waiting for the Light to come' when you have all the light you need? And at Easter, how do you discuss the Resurrection of Christ and the world around us?
The symbolism seems much easier up here in the north.
It doesn't stop Christians down there. By latest estimates 1.3 billion of the 2.1 billion world wide Christians live in the global South while 860 million live in the northern hemisphere.
In 1910 2/3 of all the world's Christians lived in Europe. Now only 26% do.
Brazil (in the global south) has twice as many Christians as Italy and 1/4 of all the Christians in the world are in sub-Saharan Africa.
The North is diminishing while the South is growing strongly.
Still, those of us 'up here' have the climate that fits the symbolism best--for what that's worth...which obviously, given the numbers, isn't much....
Yet, I sit in the darkness, pondering it, waiting for the Light of Bethlehem's Star....
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