Why celebrate December 22nd?
Most people focus on December 24th (Christmas Eve), December 25th (Christmas Day), and some take a good look at December 21st (winter solstice).
In addition, December 26th (Boxing Day) is good for buying till you drop, December 31st (New Year's Eve) is good for parties, and January 1st (New Year's Day) is good for another meal, visiting, polar bear swims, and resolutions.
But what's the big deal about December 22nd?
It's the first day after the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. It's the first day that all the days start getting longer, the first day of more light, the first day on the journey to the longest day of the year in our hemisphere, June 21st. The sun starts to crowd out the night.
So we celebrate the 22nd because we celebrate the light, it's return, and it's growing strength.
We celebrate it because the light comes upon us slowly, incrementally, as so often quiet, strong, good things can come - not all at once or in a sudden surge, but bit-by-bit, moment-by-moment, year-by-year, a goodness often unnoticed by us until we are suddenly aware it is there and has been there for a long time, it's just that we've been oblivious. Just as many of us are oblivious of the lengthening hours of daylight until a month after Christmas, or Valentine's Day, when it becomes obvious that the sun is setting later and later, but rising earlier and earlier.
For Christians, of course, this is a metaphor for Christ who called himself the Light of the World. By Christmas Day, we've had a trinity of days, and the light is already greater than it was on the 22nd. An appropriate symbol for Jesus, who is the light in all our darknesses, a light the darknesses we wrestle with can never master, understand, or put out.
Celebrate December 22nd - light a candle, buy a new lamp, get up and watch the sunrise, thank the God who always brings light out of darkness.
The 22nd is a symbol of our great hope - that Jesus really has overcome the world.
The 22nd, therefore, is the day to be of good cheer.
Just as the 25th is the day to receive the glad tidings of great joy - which are for all people.