It's a chillier Sunday morning than we've seen in a while. It is late in October after all, and in just a couple of weeks the ultimate hallmark of the coming of Winter...the time change. The sunset in Virginia Beach on November 6th, 2016 will be 5:01 pm.
Here's a fun little fact for you. The earliest sunset this year will NOT be on December 21st, the winter solstice. In fact, from December 2nd through December 8th, the sun will rise between 7:00 AM and 7:05 AM, but it will set at the exact same time each day: 4:47pm. In the remaining time, the sunrise gets a bit later, while the sunset starts to creep back...but the days get ever shorter until December 21st. The daylength on December 21st is a meager 9:38:04.
Compare that to the Summer Solstice of June 21st. A day of 14:41:23 of sunlight. For a lot of us, those five or so hours make a lot of difference.
It's easy in the Winter months--especially here in the South--to take a day when the sun is not yet up when you go to work and already down before you leave, and just flush it. There are a whole lot of days like that here. That's not counting the rainy, snowy days when everything is gray and muddy. It's easy to get lethargic. To hibernate. To crawl into your heated bed and not come out until Spring.
But I want to tell you that if you're thinking that the coming Winter months means hibernation, you're missing the point. Those days...from Dec 2 to Dec 21? Those are FANTASTIC days.
When I was a kid, that period--more or less--was Advent. Now, Advent was the period of preparation for Christmas, and the Nativity. For me, it also meant the one thing I always looked forward to every year: The renewal of the cycle. Midnight Mass on December 24th was the night of renewal, and you sing Joy To The World, and if you're very lucky you had a snow-covered Christmas Morning, and everything was white and fresh smelling and new.
Now, I'm not saying you'll be ANY of those things. But why not treat Advent as a preparation for what is to come for you?
That's what I propose to do this year. A sort of Advent Calendar to plan the next year of life. Admittedly, it's an experiment, and only slightly sacrilegious. I think the man will get over it. We're talking about improving lives here.
So, from 11/27 through 12/24, we'll have a Roley-fied Advent Calendar. I don't yet know what form this will take. Maybe it will be the podcast? Video? Both?
We'll find out together as we head towards our New Year.