Sunlight’s transforming effects are amazing. The other day I walked outside under a cloudless blue sky. The sun’s angle was low and cast long shadows even at midday, but I was struck by how strong and warm those brilliant rays felt, even on one of the shortest days of the year. Just 24 hours before, a cold rain had been falling from clouds that looked impenetrably dark.
For centuries people all over the world have celebrated at this time of the Winter Solstice. It’s not hard to imagine how the Northern Europeans could have felt, possessing no astronomical understanding and yet keenly aware of the elements and seasons. Would their sun, the source of all life, regain its strength? Or this time would it go on dwindling, snuffing out their existence in dark oblivion?
Some say Christmas, with its message of light, is at least in part celebrated at this time because it was incorporated into these traditions — “the light shining in darkness.”
These days you hear a lot about avoiding too much sun exposure. But the fact is, a wide range of studies claim that sunlight offers a host of health benefits, including protection from auto-immune diseases, healthy circulation, better sleep, weight loss, clearer skin, a happier outlook with less depression, and better digestion. In both hemispheres, the death rate has been clearly shown to decrease in the summer months and max out in the winter, when seasonal depression gains so much attention.
But in this time of the year when even secular radio stations are playing overtly religious Christmas songs about God and Jesus, it’s powerful to find that Christmas bears a message synonymous with a different healing light. A message celebrating the one who brought health and wholeness to multitudes. This healing was not the product of ultraviolet rays but something metaphysical–that is, above physics.
“Christianity as Jesus taught it,” wrote Mary Baker Eddy, “was not a creed, nor a system of ceremonies, nor a special gift from a ritualistic Jehovah; but it was the demonstration of divine Love casting out error and healing the sick, not merely in the name of Christ, or Truth, but in the demonstration of Truth, as must be the case in the cycles of divine light” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures).
I find this a truth worth exploring every day of the year.