A Sunrise to Remember

A Sunrise to Remember

Tomorrow is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Here in Wales the sun won’t rise till past 8am and will be setting just after 4pm.

One good thing about such a late sunrise is a lot more of us are awake to enjoy it than in the summer when the sun can rise before 5am.

In winter the sunrise apparently appears clearer and more intense too. This is because pollution in the air reduces visibility. In the summer air circulation can become sluggish and the hazy atmosphere mutes the colours. But the crisp winter air lets us see all those beautiful streaks of red and orange, and hues of pink and purple, with greater clarity.

Few things are more beautiful than the sunrise.

While reading through the Christmas story this year I noticed that Zechariah refers to Jesus as the rising sun.

Zechariah makes an appearance early on in the Christmas story. Like Mary, he and his wife Elizabeth are also promised a child. For Mary, her virginity makes the birth of a son seemingly impossible. Whilst Elizabeth was married, she was old and barren. It seemed impossible for her to have a child too.

However nothing is impossible for God. God sent an angel to tell Zechariah the good news, that he was to have a son. The son would be called John and would prepare the way for Jesus, by calling people to repent and turn back to God.

Zechariah couldn’t quite believe the angel and as a result of his unbelief his speech was taken away from him until the child was born.

After at least 9 months of silent contemplation Zechariah breaks into prophecy, and speaking about Jesus says this;

“because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Luke 1:78-79)

How is Jesus like the ‘rising sun’? Isaiah 53:2 says “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.” Therefore I don’t believe Zechariah was referring to any superficial beauty when making this comparison.

But if not in beauty, then in what ways is Jesus like the sunrise? I’d like to suggest 3.

1. As the sun starts to appear on the horizon darkness instantly begins to flee away. Whilst the sunrise appears dim at first, it gradually gets brighter and brighter, until midday, when there are no more shadows.

When we turn to Jesus, we are given a full pardon for all of the dark thoughts, words and actions in our lives. And once we allow that glimmer of light in, Jesus promises to start a work in us, gradually eradicating all darkness from our hearts until one day we will stand perfect before him. No shadow of a bad thought. No more hurt. No more pain and struggle.

2. The early morning sunrise is gentle on our eyes. While the midday sun can blind us, we can look directly at the sunrise and enjoy its beauty. In the Old Testament no one could look directly at God without dying. But on that first Christmas morning, God came in humility and meekness, as a baby who grew up to be a man. We can look upon Jesus and see there the tender love and mercy of God.

3. The sunrise is reliable. Thus far it has never failed to rise every morning of our lives. Equally there is no chance of the sun rising in error. It doesn’t start to appear only to quickly hide itself. Once the sun starts to rise it is a promise, a guarantee, of the midday to come. Jesus is dependable and will not turn back on his promises. He appeared as the gentle rising sun on that first Christmas morning, and he will come again in all his power and glory, shining as the midday sun – eradicating all darkness and evil once and for all.

Though he has similarities to the rising sun, Jesus is far greater. The sun sets, leaving us in darkness each night. But Jesus promises that once we are united to Him he will never leave us. All stars, our sun included, have a limit to their power and their life span. However Jesus Christ is eternal. One day the sun will cease to shine but in the city of God, Jesus will be the lamp, giving light to all (Revelation 21:23).

If you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a beautiful sunrise this winter, let it remind you of the far greater truth that it points to – Jesus.

Christmas decorations

Each year the children and I make Christmas decorations to add to our growing collection and make the house a little more festive.

Last year I posted about our homemade tree decorations with air drying clay.

My favourite this year has got to be these giant gingerbread men!

You will need;
Large cardboard box
Stanley knife, sharp knife or large scissors

1.Draw a large gingerbread man on your cardboard box.

2.Cut it out (depending on the thickness of the card a knife will be a lot easier than scissors).

3.Paint on a face, buttons and decorations. You will need at least 2 coats of paint.


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