Today is the shortest day of the year, officially the start of "winter." The long shadows throughout the day are a dead giveaway that the sun clings to the horizon and that we are tilted away from the great orb. It's cold and dark for most of the day. When it's cold and the sun is obscured by clouds, kids know that there's a chance snow will fall. So what's that mean around the world, in terms of lengths of days on Dec. 21, 2009? In Copenhagen, Denmark, which has been in the news lately for some reason, the daylight will last 7 hours and 2 minutes. In Nairobi, Kenya, daylight runs 12 hours, 12 minutes long. Here in Gloucester, the sun rose at 7:17 a.m. It will set at 4:52 p.m. In Corvallis, Ore., the day is shorter by 46 minutes, with the sun rising at 7:47 a.m. and setting at 4:36 p.m.
The shortest day of the year is a day of hope. That doesn't sound right, but that's how it sits with me. Winter's fury is yet to be unleashed in its fullest in most places, including here I imagine. As you can see from the photos, it wasn't all that long ago we were outside in t-shirts. The change in weather unfurls abruptly here. Though it may be cold, provided the skies are clear, the sun will shine a little longer each day now. The photos you see up there were taken by some of my daughters -- Evie and Claire, I believe. One is a shot at the beach in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, back in October. The other is our backyard a few weeks ago. Then you have the shot of Gabe holding the sun on a stick. That's a great shot, eh? As I think about light and how much I enjoy the sun, particularly on these winter days, I think of the true light: Jesus Christ. The light of the world.