Tekufat Tevet – Darkness, gold moon and Light to look forward

This year we face an extra special solstice because it will be followed the next day by a full moon known as the Cold Moon, and you might be able to see a meteor shower to boot.
For many the winter-holiday starting we think about the light in the darkness and having a nice family time.

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Having today the shortest day of the year with only 7 hours and a half of sunlight we have our Sabbath service thinking about the “Light” in man’s life.

For six months now, the days have grown shorter and the nights have grown longer in the Northern Hemisphere — but that’s about to reverse itself from this Sabbath onwards. In some regions here at the continent people shall only find darkness in the day. Such darkness often works negatively on the mood. But though surrounded by darkness we should know there is a Great Light in that choshech or darkness to which we should look forward.

Lots of people shall remember that light on the 24th and 25th of December, celebrating “the Light”  at the heathen or pagan festival to which they gave the name “Christmas“. Real lovers of God should be very careful if they associate their remembrance of the birth of Christ Jesus on that day of the goddess of light. They should abstain from all the heathen elements, like Santa Claus, reindeer, fairies and trolls, which have nothing to do with the birth of Jeshua, the Kristos (Christ) or Messiah.

In the Southern Hemisphere, where today in New South Wales they got ice-balls as big as tennis-balls in the in the middle of summer, the longest day of the year is marked, the sun appearing at its most southerly position, directly overhead at the Tropic of Capricorn. 

The exact time of the 2018 winter solstice will be 22:23 Universal Time. Perhaps you will be already in bed. In any case before it is so far we shall think about the darkness and about the light in the darkness.

On Saturday, December 22, at 17:49 Universal Time (that’s 12:49 p.m. ET), the last full moon of the year will come.
However, when you’re looking out into a clear sky on Friday night, the moon will appear full to you — and could be so bright that people with pretty good eyesight could read by it.

2018 full cold moon falling almost exactly in line with the December solstice on the 21st, with its peak around midday on the 22nd. The longest night of the year coincides with a big, beautiful full moon. It’s the first time since 2010 since the two have been less than 24 hours apart, and the last time until 2029.

Over many centuries, this moon has been called several names: Cold Moon, Cold Full Moon, Long Night Moon (by some Native American tribes) or the Moon Before Yule (from the Anglo-Saxon lunar calendar). In the North we then also can find many Yule festivities, also something to partake at.

If you’re wondering how special this Cold Moon is so close to the solstice, it will be 2029 before it happens again. So it’s not a once-in-a-lifetime event, but still, you don’t see this too often.

The 25 Kislev for us was the start to think especially about light in the world. From nightfall on December 2 until nightfall on December 10 we had the eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods.

When dusk was falling we put on the candles and could see that the light went a long way. Perched in the doorway, those candles serve as a beacon for the darkening streets. No matter how dark it is outside, a candle of Godly goodness can transform the darkness itself into light. For us tonight at our gathering, we remember not only that a small band of faithful but poorly armed Jews, led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of God. We also think about the person who was born on October 17 4 BCE. That child, having come into the world in a special way, was going to be the precious oil for mankind, like when there, after the rededication of the temple, was only found a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks, it miraculously lit the menorah, one-day supply managing to last for for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity. That child that came into the world in a stable in Bethlehem was also going to be a small drop of oil, bringing light for a short time (three years of public life) to start new fire, when the Master of Light provided Wisdom and courage in the hearts of the talmidim.

It’s no surprise many cultures and religions celebrate a holiday — whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or pagan festivals — that coincides with the return of the sun and longer days to come. Many people from tonight shall have one week free of work to be with the family. Therefore we too having now more family-time make use of it to remember the Giver of Light, the eternal Unseen Being Who also provide new light for mankind, a creator of a new world, the Nazarene rebbe Jeshua.

Ancient peoples whose survival depended on a precise knowledge of seasonal cycles marked this first day of winter with elaborate ceremonies and celebrations. Spiritually, these celebrations symbolize the opportunity for renewal, a casting off of old habits and negative feelings and an embracing of hope amid darkness as the days once again begin to grow longer.
We too remember our old self and the things which should belong to the past. We want to cast out all the wicked things that happened in the previous months and want to see days offering new light of better attitudes.

It’s easy for us to focus on the darkness that exists in our world and many people let themselves being carried away by the darkness of bad news in this world. They should open their eyes for the Good News which is brought to the world. And we should be heralds of that Good News of a coming Kingdom where there shall be a lovely light and a peaceful atmosphere. The candles we shall light shall also be lightening up for connections we want to make with each other and for each other. In such way this dark time of the year we use to sit cosily together around the fire or in the warmth, freezing cold outside, and to give each other presents, making clear we think of them and we appreciate each other.

Northern Europe’s ancient winter solstice celebration, are also incorporated into modern festivities, including gathering around bonfires, feasting, drinking and telling stories. But we as lovers of God should be careful not to be token by the alcohol and to be always clear of mind, presenting ourselves as an example of good behaviour.

For those who can marvel at this seasonal interplay of light and darkness by heading for the Arctic Circle to see aurora borealis, the northern lights, in the Swedish Lapland they have good reason to think about the magic of the Bore His creation. For those who can go to the Aurora Sky Station in Abisko National Park they shall find an ideal place to catch the show, but also to think about the Beauty of God’s Creation.

In these days of darkness let ourselves also be a light in the darkness and bring a good feeling to others.

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Additional reading

  1. Roman, Aztec and other rites still influencing us today
  2. Holidays, holy days and traditions
  3. Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia
  4. Solstice, Saturnalia and Christmas-stress
  5. Christmas in the 1950s
  6. Continued nostalgic Christmas memories
  7. Winter Solstice 2015: Shortest Day Of The Year Celebrated As Pagan Yule
  8. The imaginational war against Christmas
  9. Trying to Get Rid of Holy Days for a Long Time
  10. 8 Reasons Christian Holidays Should Not Be Observed
  11. Not missing your appointment in 2017
  12. Coming together in dark days
  13. Family happiness and little things we do
  14. Looking for the consummation of presents

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