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Archive for the ‘Winter Solstice’ Category

YULE

And 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 now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!

———Susan Cooper

https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Yule

Photo by Jedediah Berry, Amherst, MA

Photo by Jedediah Berry, Amherst, MA

 

Solstice Darkness

I thought I’d be experiencing silence on this dark, solstice night. But outside thunder rumbles in the dark, while rain pelts the windows. There will probably be no snow this Christmas.

Inside, the Christmas tree – with no lights or trimmings – stands in a corner in the living room. Hanukkah candles offer a small, wavering light, which will grow as the week goes on.

Winter officially begins, even as we are about to slowly see more daylight.

This has been an intense year for me, because I was given a gift which is slowly bringing into focus the areas of my life where I wish to use my energy. That gift is a “live-in-the-moment” way of being, acknowledging what is and moving on from there, one step in front of another.

The Christmas tree has not been trimmed because my youngest daughter is eager to do it with me when she arrives tomorrow. It will be a delight to be with two of my three grown children. Hopefully I’ll see my eldest daughter and my grandchildren in late winter or spring.

Here’s more light, in the form of light humor. My Jewish brother-in-law sent the following Hanukkah greeting:

Top 5 Hanukkah Songs That Never Quite Caught On
 
5. “Oy To The World”
 
4. “Bubbie Got Run Over By A Reindeer”
 
3. “Matzo Man” by The Lower East Side Village People
 
2. “Come On, Baby, Light My Menorah”
 
And the #1 Hanukkah song that never quite caught on…
 
1.  “Silent Night? I Should Be So Fortunate!”

The Hunting of the Tree

Today is the day for the annual Sacrifice of the Balsam. (Click for last season’s post.)

As we searched on this beautiful winter morning, the sun shone in blue skies; then in early afternoon some clouds moved in. The sun behind the clouds looked like a full moon.

We came home with a fragrant balsam.

Shadows Flee Away

 

Written on Christmas Eve, 1513

I salute you.  I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep.

There is nothing I can give you which you have not.  But there is much,

very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take.  No heaven can

come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today.  Take heaven!

No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.

Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow.  Behind it, yet within

our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see.

And to see, we have only to look.  I beseech you to look!

Life is so generous a giver.  But we, judging its gifts by their covering,

cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard.  Remove the covering, and you

will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power.

Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you.

Everything we call a trial, a sorrow or a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there.

The gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence.  Your joys, too,

be not content with them as joys.  They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering,

that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven.  Courage then to claim it; that is all!

But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together,

wending through unknown country home.

And so, at this time, I greet you, not quite as the world sends greetings,

but with profound esteem and with the prayer that for you, now and

forever, the day breaks and shadows flee away.

~ Fra Giovanni ~