Sunset in January and February brings more dread than joy. But we can change that when we make the winter sunset hour a time to celebrate God’s presence and care.
In a Fast Company article about staying sane while living in 24-hour darkness, Julia Herbst provides five tips for dealing with winter light (or the lack of it). One of them is “Don’t fight the darkness.” It’s an encouragement to enjoy winter through hygge, which can include Christian mindfulness. (Another is to get a light box or Happy Light, which I totally endorse! Here’s the one I use.)
Britain’s “The Simple Things” magazine suggests stopping the day’s events to enjoy tea and dessert at sunset in the winter. (This could lead to a Backwards Meal, which my kids and I used to do on April Fools Day.)
For those who practice Christian mindfulness, watching the winter sunset while practicing the presence of God is a quiet revelation. God is still there in the cold and the dark earth around us. And He is still making things of beauty for those who take the time to watch. Adding a gratitude practice … giving thanks for five things from the day … can only bring God’s presence closer.
Some may want to enjoy the winter sunset with some beautiful music or a book that makes you feel alive. Reading some poetry also adds an element of celebration to sunset. Here’s “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Christina Rossetti:
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.