"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Sons of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Three days to Christmas--the longest night

Darkest before dawn, 5 by 7 watercolor, card
Solstice, the longest night, the shortest day of the year.
Not coincidentally near Christmas, a spiritual time for much of the world for thousands of years, marked and worship by the ancients, as a time of turning, of death and life again. 
"It's always darkest before the dawn," is our saying. There's not a record of early Christians celebrating Christ's birth--it took organized religion institutionalizing His teachings to do that, and winter solstice fit the bill. Easter was easier to pinpoint, having to do with Passover and Pentecost, but then institutional religion added a pagan name and observance to it--Easter.
The exact time  of solstice varies with the calender, usually around Dec. 21-22. For most of the world it is Dec. 22 this year, but it officially began in Oklahoma about 11 p.m. Monday night. There is science and all behind that if you care to look it up.
All I know is, tomorrow will be a little longer than today. The longest night signals the change, when more light is coming. 
Isn't that what Christmas is supposed to be about--light conquering darkness?

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