Before Christmas, we face the Winter solstice, which starts at 10:10 p.m. Saturday, local time. The North Pole will be tilted the farthest away from the sun and Sunday will be the day of their year with the fewest hours of sunlight. Here in Great Bend, we’ll get about 9 hours of sunlight. (According to Vox.com, Fairbanks, Alaska, will get 3 hours and 41 minutes of sunlight.)
For centuries, people have attempted to face the coming winter with hope. Instead of cursing the longest night, they light candles. Pagans celebrated the rebirth of the sun. And even today, we buck up for the coming darkness, because in three months we can enjoy warmth, sunlight and spring. Perhaps we evaluate the past year and think about who we want to become and what we hope to achieve over the next 12 months.
The day may hold spiritual significance for many who contemplate their place in the universe or their connection with humanity. Great Bend’s Trinity Lutheran Church held a Longest Night/Blue Christmas worship service this week to share the Christian perspective, “that God’s presence is for those who mourn, for those who struggle, and that God’s Word comes to shine light into our darkness.”
Even though the solstice will have the least hours of daylight, most locations don’t have their earliest sunset or latest sunrise on that date. Sunrise today in Great Bend will be at 7:48 a.m. and sunset will be at 5:18 p.m. But sunrise will be at 7:51 a.m. on Dec. 31, while sunset for Dec. 1-11 was at 5:14 p.m.
Winter officially begins on Sunday, Dec. 22.