Summer solstice is upon us! For me, it means I get a few more minutes to chase my dog around the yard whilst avoiding mosquitoes. For some, this is a day of great spiritual awakening and celebration. In ancient times, summer solstice was one of the main worship events for pagans. Lately, I’ve seen a number of Christians encouraging their brothers and sisters to make solstice a Christian event (MSACE?)!
With the resurgence of paganism in the guise of neo-paganism and new spirituality, summer solstice has become a talking point again. How should Christians respond to solstice celebrations?
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“Happy solstice… Miracles of timeless merging of sun and earth makes medicinal mandalas for the mind. May you harness the light to make beauty.” A Christian friend of mine had created a celebratory circle of stones around his pet cactus and sent out these good vibes on June 21, summer solstice. As I sat there, I sent a text to Ratio Christi’s Cults and New Religion specialist for some information. What is summer solstice? Who celebrates summer solstice? What’s the deal with the Christians who celebrate?
What is summer solstice?
Astronomically speaking, summer solstice is the longest day of the year. Astrologically speaking, it’s a time for a lot of positive energy. Logically speaking? It’s possible that you may feel euphoric because of increased exposure to sunlight, resulting in a spike in Vitamin D production which is linked to positive effects on your mood.
Solstice traditionally kicks off the Midsummer festival in Sweden that draws thousands of tourists each year. Side note, it also inspired a movie that looks absolutely terrifying. In addition to seemingly harmless summer festivals and possibly harmful summer blockbusters, summer solstice has been celebrated by a number of heretical religions for thousands of years.
Who celebrates the solstice?
Traditional pagans, neo-pagans, Wiccans, and a number of other new-age religions celebrate the solstice as one of their high holidays. Even Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream seems to have been heavily influenced by the Druidic history of England.
Eight pagan high (seasonal) holidays
Yule – Winter Solstice
Candelmas – Imbolc
Ostara – Spring Equinox
May Eve – Beltane
Litha – Summer Solstice
Lammas – Lughnasadh
Mabon – Autumn Equinox
Halloween – Samhain
Throughout history, much of the ancient world celebrated during the solstice. But the life, death, and resurrection of Christ changed the entire world. After Christianity swept through the Roman empire and the world, organized pagan worship was largely banned and abandoned. Now, only a handful of Celts, Druids, Wiccans, and hipsters make up the yearly revelers at Stonehenge.
Christians celebrating solstice?
Even some Christians have adopted aspects of the summer solstice celebration into their personal brand of Christianity. This practice, known as syncretism, often melds Christianity with the mystic religious practices. This is nothing new. Before Christ, the Jews had Merkabah mysticism. After Christ, Gnosticism and Kabbalah were the mystic heresies of choice. Christian mystics can often be heard celebrating visions of Revelation and the secret knowledge gleaned through the position of planetary bodies.
Do these events have power?
Ratio Christi’s mission is to focus on helping others to see the convincing evidence of Jesus Christ. However, we would be foolish to ignore spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:11-12, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5). That being said, we also know that there is no spiritual power that can stand against God. For the believer, these events do not have power over his or her life.
What then, should the Christian response be to the Summer solstice?
Christians at Solstice Celebrations
Christians should not fear that they will burn in fire and brimstone merely by being at a solstice celebration. I used to tell my congregation that being in a garage doesn’t make you a car, and being in a church doesn’t make you a Christian. It’s the same with a so-called spiritual celebration like solstice. Just because you are there doesn’t make you a pagan, and it doesn’t mean you love Jesus any less, so long as you are aware of the spiritual warfare at hand and are prepared.
As you head into a Summer Solstice celebration, know that you are entering territory where the Enemy rules. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself at these festivals, but pray for clarity that you would recognize truth from lie. Pray for opportunities to share the hope you have within you.
Using It for God’s Glory
Worship is a natural thing—humans were created to worship—so it’s natural to see people worshipping what they see around them. Summer Solstice is a time of worshipping life, beauty, and nature. What better opportunity to share with festival-goers the One who created it all?! Be prepared to share that God is the source of creation. Point to the fact that the beauty and majesty of nature helps us to look in awe at the power and beauty of God. All of creation bows down to worship God (1 Chronicles 16:33, Isaiah 55:12, Luke 19:40, Psalm 19:1). Neither our praise, nor His worthiness of praise depends on the mysticism found in solstice celebrations. Instead of worshipping the beauty they see, be prepared with answers that point to the majesty of the Creator and His beauty.
Perhaps this is just a day to enjoy a little extra sunshine (and maybe some extra caffeine) and thank God for his beautiful creation. If you find yourself in a discussion about the solstice or the Zim Zum of the universe, take that as an opportunity to talk about how Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection changed the course of the entire world.
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