Today is Winter Solstice, which is when the North Pole is farthest from the sun and the amount of sunlight is shortest. That is, if you live in the northern half of the globe–if you live south like in Australia–it’s Summer Solstice Day. Today is also Yule Day, which goes back to Viking times–it’s connected to the solstice, but is also where a lot of our Christmas traditions come from. Yule refers to Odin, who was the god the Viking people believed in many years ago. They decorated with mistletoe, and the kids put out goodies for Odin’s 8-legged horse, kind of like putting out treats for Santa’s reindeer.
All of these extra things are interesting, but don’t get sidetracked from the true Christmas story.
6 While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have the baby. 7 She gave birth to her first son. She wrapped him up well and laid him in a box where cattle are fed. She put him there because the guest room was full. 8 That night, some shepherds were out in the fields near Bethlehem watching their sheep. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord was shining around them. The shepherds were very afraid. 10 The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid. I have some very good news for you—news that will make everyone happy. 11 Today your Savior was born in David’s town. He is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box.” 13 Then a huge army of angels from heaven joined the first angel, and they were all praising God, saying,
14 “Praise God in heaven, and on earth let there be peace to the people who please him.”
15 The angels left the shepherds and went back to heaven. The shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this great event the Lord has told us about.”