When my Bible study assigned me December 21st to prepare the devotional, I was amazed and pleased. December 21st is my birthday, a time for reflection as well as looking to the future.
As we draw near to the close of 2020, many of us wish that this was the year that wasn’t. COVID, lockdown, not seeing family and friends, ugly political polarization. Yet, even in this turmoil, we have each known many blessings. Having our worlds shrink to our homes and computers forces us to figure out what really matters. Together we will pull through. We will all be changed, hopefully for the better. We can learn from our struggles because All things work together for good for those that love God.
In 1348, the Black Plague killed half the residents of Florence. After the scourge lifted, the survivors embarked upon either a life of hedonistic gratification or of intense piety. After the Spanish Flu came the Roaring Twenties and Prohibition. After the terrible Pandemic, our lives cannot help but change also.
Every year December 21st is considered an auspicious day signifying great things to come because it is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. All pagan religions celebrated the winter solstice. In fact, scholars believe that we celebrate Christmas in December to align with these pagan rituals. Their purpose was not only to think of the darkness but also to focus on the light which is to come. From this day forward, every day will be longer. We have made it through the season of gathering darkness and are entering into the light.
This year the solstice bore special significance. December 21, 2020 marked the closest conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, a conjunction that occurs only every 400 years. If you went outside at sunset and looked at the Western sky, you saw an exceedingly bright star. Scientists have speculated that this conjunction created the Star of Bethlehem that led the Wise Men to Jesus.
It gives me chills to think that the end of this perilous and challenging year brings an event of such magnitude in the heavens. Night after night, we went outside on our rooftop and watched the planets grow closer and then farther apart. We were able to remove ourselves from earthly concerns as we contemplated the heavens. I believe this twinkling star is an omen of good things to come.