6:03 pm ET marked this year’s winter solstice, ending the creeping darkness. “Solstice” comes from two Latin words, sol meaning “sun” and sistere meaning “stationary” because on this day, in the northern hemisphere, the sun seems to stand still, as if garnering it’s strength to fight back the darkness.
Technically, the winter solstice marks the moment when there is a 23.5-degree tilt in Earth’s axis and the North Pole is at its furthest point from the sun — from here on, the days will get longer, gaining us an additional 6 and 1/2 hours of sunlight per day by June 21st when the days begin to get shorter again. (This is reversed in the southern hemisphere, so today those down under will be celebrating their summer solstice.)
Though neo-pagans have claimed the solstice for their own, this is one of those natural holidays (holy days) that we all should be celebrating. The end of the lengthening nights. The triumph of light over darkness. We don’t even need the metaphors of light=good and dark=bad to find reason to celebrate this day. It’s simply a day of stillness, of hope. A day to give thanks for the promise that even in our darkest hour, light will return.
My celebration was simple. I lit my bowls of light and went outside and toasted the pale winter sun with champagne. Well, it was really sparking apple/pear cider, but the sun didn’t seem to care. It slid beneath the cloud-shrouded mountains without even a wink or a nod to acknowledge my obeisance. But it will return with greater strength tomorrow. And so will I.
Wishing you a bright and hopeful end of the creeping darkness.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.
December 21, 2014 at 7:52 pm
I stepped outside, covered my glasses from the driving rain and used my faith in unseen things to believe the sun was shining over the clouds and rain. *sigh
December 21, 2014 at 7:59 pm
A perfect celebration of this day — hope! Wishing you much sun in the coming days.
December 22, 2014 at 12:05 am
“Now faith is the substance (assurance) of things hoped for, the evidence (conviction) of things not seen.” Heb. 11:1 KJV
Hang in there Wanda, it works!
Great post Pat, loved the way you chose to celebrate it. I too, miss those sunny, light days and can hardly wait until they return.