December 20, 2020
Our ancestors understood the significance of this day, which, in our time, has been minimized to represent the "first day of winter."
In my childhood, the first day of winter was cause for celebration — it was the herald of school breaks and gift giving.
But it's so much more than that.
Those who came before us recognized this day as the promise of light returning, the earth warming and generously offering provisions, ensuring people’s survival.
This day is the sacred keeper of the shortest day and the longest night.
Winter Solstice doesn’t promise the earth will thaw right away. On the contrary, periods of bitter cold that will test the resilience of plant and animal life still lie ahead.
And yet the light is here, gradually adding minutes to each day, hinting at the healing power of the sun that will arrive in its fullness to rouse the land and all its inhabitants. The earth sleeps, things pass away and are then reborn in a new way.
We begin to understand that living and losing, birthing and dying, are suspended by the earth's turning away from, and then back toward the sun. In our darkest of days, in our deepest pain, in our greatest sorrow, the light eventually comes.
Perhaps it’s just a sliver, peeking through the curtains, a touch of a hand or a just-at-the-right-moment phone call.
Then it’s a door opening, as our feet find movement and our heart’s desire to be seen as who we are now, maybe just a little more fragile, maybe moving a little more slowly because the light hasn’t fully warmed us.
Finally, the earth seems alive again, and our bodies long to feel the soft grass beneath our feet. The sun now shines fully as we see the beauty of life around us in those who hold us gently, with a knowing that we will ebb and flow with the wind as memories pierce this thin skin surrounding the heart — but we are here.
Look through the curtains.
See the light.
Know that healing will come.
The sun is on its way, as promised.
Each day will bring new opportunities to warm our bodies and soothe our hearts.
May the wisdom of the Winter Solstice be yours today.
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