Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

My dashboard on my computer has a widget that shows how much of the day is "light" and how much is "dark." Here it is on the shortest day of the year for Kirksville, MO. For some reason, that is my favorite widget because it makes me quite happy in the summer when 2/3 of the pie is "light" and it gives me something to complain about when it is "dark."

I realized recently that it's not the darkness that bothers me, it's the fact that it comes too early in the day. This time of year, it's hard to feed my long-eared equines in the light; I usually get home right around dusk. It becomes a race home to feed before I'm feeding animals in the dark. I don't like feeding them in the dark because even the gentlest large animals can get spooked, and the cold weather makes them frisky.

There is something in human nature that makes us recognize this is a time of the year where we need to seek out something of meaning. The pagan Solstice festivals centered around the worry that the sun might not come back. Our pineal glands certainly sense that the lack of light is there. Light deprivation leads to decreased levels of many biochemical substances, including melatonin. With some people, these changes lead to seasonal affective disorder. Sometimes I wonder if the stress of the Christmas holiday season isn't partly simply because our pineal glands are adjusting to less light, and it makes us a little "off our feed."

Most of us realize that we really don't know the exact day of Christ's birth, but for whatever reason we tied it into winter solstice. The "standard" answer is it was to tag team onto pagan festivals as a means to promote Christianity, but I tend to think there is a deeper biochemical meaning to it all. I wonder sometimes if it's simply because we need something bigger than us in the as we sit in the dark, and grump about the short days, something sits beside us that is bigger and gentler and more meaningful--that in that darkness we find meaning and hope.



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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