Summer Solstice and Jesus
Updated: Jun 17, 2020
As we are paying attention to these days leading up to the solstice, some of our friends may be wondering - “Are they pagan?”...“But, they call themselves Christians!”
What we are realizing is that these do not have to be mutually exclusive terms. In fact, celebrating the turning of the seasons can not only be a meaningful way to honor the heavens and the earth, but can also connect us (as followers of Jesus) to our tradition’s most ancient practices.
But before there is Jesus, there is one who points to Jesus, even in infancy - his cousin, John.
Luke says that it was “in the sixth month” that Gabriel startled Mary with the news of her problem pregnancy. But the sixth month was in reference to the period of time after Elizabeth’s conception of John.
Do we know exactly when John was born? No. Do we know exactly when Jesus was born? Sorry, but no.
The tradition of our Savior’s birth in a manger at Christmas is a time honored one. But it is John’s nativity that is marked this week, six months before the winter solstice.
This Saturday, with the sun at her highest ascent, we should remember the words of St. Matthew who said, “Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist.”
We should also try and find some of the yellow, five-petaled flowers of St. John’s Wort to decorate our homes and brighten our day as they bloom near this time.
The cycles of the year orient us on the farm as they have peoples in all places over all time. All of creation is familiar with the cycles of heaven and earth, the ebbs and flows of peaks and valleys, light and darkness.
Saturday June 20 is John’s day. We celebrate his birth, his radical message of repentance, and his invitation into the sacramental waters of creation. But, with each day following his day, the sun will visibly begin to descend from its pinnacle. And, in John’s very words to his disciples, "He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30