Winter Solstice, Holiday of Lights

Lighting up the long dark night

I was just out with my kids,  and at 2 the sun was already going down.

“Today is the shortest day of the year,” I told them.  “It’s the first day of winter. After today, the days will get longer and longer….”

“And,” my daughter said, “when the sun is highest, the sand is hottest.”

She’s always looking on the bright side, my girl, and that’s what the holidays of this time of year do, too.  When the night falls fast, we don’t need to know there’s actually such thing as Seasonal Affective Disorder.  We just know in our bones we want more light, and that’s what we get from our holidays this time of year.While Hannukah technically celebrates how consecrated oil in the Second Temple lasted eight days instead of one, really, during this the darkest time of year, it celebrates light in darkness.

And Christmas, well, it pretty obviously celebrates the renewal of life even at the darkest hour.  Not to mention all the festive lights on Christmas trees shining at all hours.

I love Sierra’s description of her family’s pagan celebration–coming together with family and friends and no bedtime for kids.

This year the solstice coincided with the lunar eclipse, more darkness! I couldn’t stay up for it, and Heather got rained out, but she has a beautiful video up here.

But the holidays continue, and while my family doesn’t celebrate Christmas or have any pagan ritual, there’s a part of me that would be happy to at least put up some winter holiday lights and put a great big candleabra on my head.  At least for one night, when it’s dark and cold for hours on end.

Happy Winter Solstice!  How do you celebrate?

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