Today is the winter solstice marking not only the beginning of winter but the shortest day of the year. With the shortest day of the year comes the longest night of the year; the day on the calendar when we will experience the most physical darkness in 2017.
Sadly, this week I received news of former student who passed away. This student lived in darkness without anyone else knowing. Unfortunately, he is not the only student living in darkness. Each year my colleagues and I are perplexed at the increased number of safety plans for students, the stress level in students, and depression in general. While students become more and more connected on social media, they are more and more isolated in real life. Many students feel alone.
And this is not just a next-generation issue. 2017 was a difficult year for many people, and the holidays are hard. Cancer. Divorce. Death. Strained relationships. Accidents. Disappointment. All of these can cause us to feel like we are living December 21st every single day, but just as winter turns to spring and the light gets a little longer each day, the darkness of the soul can give way to hope.
Use today’s physical darkness as a reminder of those who are living in emotional darkness. Reach out to someone who may be hurting. Initiate an in-depth conversation with someone who seems to be alone. Spend time with others. Share hope. Be the light.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18