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Happy Solstice

Dec 21, 2022

Today is the shortest day and the longest night of the year, the time we can choose to face our darkness and decide what we wish to be and build and become as the light returns to us. The winter solstice is a time to reflect on what we’ve done over the last year of light and darkness, as well as a chance to face down the fear and uncertainty of this longest night. Some people have a candle or fire burn all night on the solstice, a bit of light to chase away this deepest dark. Others honor the shortest day with food, ritual, dance, a sleepless night, or any number of traditions lost to time (and colonialism). And, as I’m sure you know, the Christian celebration of Christmas borrowed its timing and some of its traditions from celebrations of Yule, one of the terms for the day after the longest night.

To me, the solstice is like Christmas and New Year’s Eve rolled into one. It’s a time to find warmth and light to get through the struggles of darkness, a prompt to examine what I’ve been doing and what I want to be doing, and an excuse to celebrate and share gifts and time with the people I care about.

Whether you celebrate any of the various December holidays or none of them, I hope you see your way through this darkest night to the dawn of a new day and the return of light, ever-growing for the next 6 months. May your solstice bring you joy, healing, peace, kindness, love, and warmth.

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us—Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!

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