If there is one thing I know for sure, getting up early to watch the sunrise is ALWAYS worth it.
Today, the day of the winter equinox, the sunrise was at 7:31 a.m. (CST to be accurate). And it was a welcome sight considering we had endured the longest night of the year…14 hours, 18 minutes, and 6 seconds of darkness to be precise.
But even before the sun actually broke over the horizon, there was the promise of the light…I could see the evidence of its impending dawn for almost an hour.
From the first light, the eastern sky gradually took on a rosy hue. Then adding to this glorious effect, these first waves of light were bouncing off the clouds and lighting up the morning sky. From deepest reds to the most brilliant golds, the sky was bathed in spectacular color and the landscape took on a surreal, golden glow. It was a breathtaking sight to see and it filled my heart with joy. So of course I had to take a picture of it.
Magnificent sunrises are one my favorite things about winter, actually. And the vivid colors are thanks, in part, to the acute angle at which the Earth is tilted away from the sun. As light travels from the sun, its varying wavelengths get scattered throughout the atmosphere. But this time of year, that light travels even further and therefore the shorter wavelengths of light (blues and violets) are often scattered away almost completely. This phenomenon leaves behind only the longest, strongest wavelengths of light which is why we see mostly reds and oranges.
Standing outside in the dark, looking to the east, waiting for those first rays of light to leak up out into the morning sky, watching the sky ablaze in color and glory….I think this is what it means to be a light seeker. And I’ve done a lot of that this year.
If you’ve been reading my blog for very long, then you know that, with regards to photography, it’s all about the light. I used the expression many time here over the past several years. But let me assure you that it’s not just a trite photog cliché…for me it’s a way of life. Because you can’t know how much you need the light unless you’ve experienced the darkness. And I’ve seen darkness.
Two of my extended family members committed suicide this year. And for those of us left behind, the ripple effects of these tragedies continue to impact all of our lives. The sadness, the questions, the doubt, the fear…all of these lurk in the shadows and haunt us. Indeed it has been a very dark time for many of my loved ones. But I know for a fact that mine is not the only family hurting this year…I think it’s safe to say that the entire world is hurting. And when you come face to face with this kind of hopelessness and despair, there is no arguing that this world can be a cold, dark place.
The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. Isaiah 9:2
If this was the end of the story, then it would nothing but a sad, grim tale. But the Good News is that this is not the end. The Good News is that in the midst of our darkness a light will shine….THE Light will shine. Jesus. And because of Jesus we have the one true Light…God’s unending, unfailing love for us. And this Light is our hope and our comfort.
But the Light isn’t just for us…it is also our Christian calling. To share the Good News. To point to the Light. To reflect the Light and spread God’s love…to share His message of hope with the world.
Hope in our darkest hour – this is what we are celebrating at Christmas. So take heart my friends. Morning has broken. We don’t have to wait any longer. The Light is here.