Winter Solstice

Frosty morningThe first day of winter is Friday, December 21st and this year, 2012, it is more anticipated than other years due to the doomsday predictions regarding the end of the Mayan Calendar.  I say phooey to all of these doomsday predictions and know that this winter solstice will have impact, to be sure, but only that which we manifest.

The shortest day of the year on the northern hemisphere should be celebrated for its origins.  The word ‘solstice’ comes from the Latin words for ‘sun’ and ‘to stand still’.   In this hemisphere, the sun reaches its southern most point of the year and on December 22nd, the sun begins its advance north until the summer solstice in June.  Thus, for the north, December 21st has the shortest daylight of all of the days of the year.

In ancient times, people celebrated this short day by filling it with light through candles, bonfires, etc.  This return of the light was the most important aspect of the celebration. Over time, however, different cultures expanded this celebration to include a gathering of family and friends.  The Roman celebration, Saturnalia or the Pagan celebration of Yule, are two examples.   As we have favored the gathering, gift exchange and feast aspects of the holidays, we have eschewed the seasonal one.

This year, let us take a moment to celebrate the light on December 21st and welcome the new season, winter, into our midst.  We can do this simply by lighting candles or a fire and spending a few moments thinking of our lives and expressing gratitude for our many blessings.  We can ponder the changing seasons from autumn to winter and welcome winter into our minds and fill our hearts with light.

Welcome, welcome winter – let there be light.