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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Winter (the season) (08/13/09)

TITLE: Sun Settling
By Emily Gibson


The arrival of the winter solstice signals the long slow climb back to daylight. The sunset becomes a startling send-off for fall, coloring the snowy mountains pink in the Cascade range and surrounding an almost full moon with purple in the eastern sky.

Our barnyard, for a deceptive few minutes, appears rosy and warm in crisp subfreezing weather. Then all becomes gray again, and within an hour we are shrouded in thick fog which ices the asphalt as darkness falls. It becomes a challenge to avoid the deep ditches along our county roads, with the white fog line being the critical marker preventing potential disaster.

The ever present evening fog this time of year cloaks and smothers the darkness, not unlike the respiratory viruses that have hit people so hard. We are feverish, coughing and snuffling, unable to see past the ends of our own swollen noses, as if the fog descended upon each of us in an impenetrable gray cloud. It is an unwelcome reminder of our vulnerability to microscopic organisms that can defeat us and lay us low in a matter of hours, just as a sudden fog can misguide us to the ditch. We are forced to stay put, at a time when there are dozens of responsibilities vying for attention in preparation for the holidays. Little gets accomplished other than the slow wait for healing and clarity--at some point the viral fog will dissipate and we can try climbing back into life and navigating without fog lines as guides.

Ditches are especially deep for some good folk in the winter, swallowing up their light and joy in the season. A family loses a child in a tragic accident while another family has lost their beloved grandfather to a relentless cancer. Too many people struggle with overwhelming depression and every day must make a decision whether to live or die. There are many homeless from epic disasters of hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes. Despite these profound losses and pain, people courageously climb their way out of the darkness to the light.

This solstice day's transition to night is bittersweet: bright flames of color, yet heralding our uneasy future sleep. So the sun "settles" upon the earth and so must we.

Be at ease, put down the heavy burden and rest. We celebrate, with chorus and gifts, the arrival of brilliant light in our lives. Instead of darkness overcoming us, our lives are illuminated in glory and grace.

The Son has settled among us.

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Member Comments
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Verna Cole Mitchell 08/20/09
Your descriptions of winter here are a wonderful analogy for the "winter" of our hearts. You pictured well the darkness and despair of the season.I love how you tied the ideas together at the end.
Val Clark08/20/09
This is a wonderfully visual and emotionally evocative, description of the type of winter I've never experienced. I love the nuance in 'This solstice day's transition to night is bittersweet: bright flames of color, yet heralding our uneasy future sleep. So the sun "settles" upon the earth and so must we.' yeggy
Janice Fitzpatrick08/20/09
Amen. Very true. I love your descriptions and although the winter of circumstances may try to keep us in the "ditch" the Lord bring His light and and mercy and pulls us from our deathbeds of sorrow and pain, walking beside us when we stand, carrying us when we can't. Lovely!
Mona Purvis08/23/09
Good devotional. The sun "settling" got my attention. Good message.
Coleene VanTilburg 08/23/09
The analogies running all through this are both subtle and obvious. I will have to read this several times to get into the head of the writer and pick up every one if I can. This was a beautiful picture of hope in the midst of despair. Thanks