Saturday, December 21, 2013

Kissed By Light

"Here Comes the Sun"
-Morning Skies of the Winter Solstice-

Today a cosmic event occurs - the earth shifts. The longest night of the year gives way to the conquering sun. This is the day of the Winter Solstice.

As I watched the dawn of today's magnificent desert sunrise, I reflected on the universally prominent role the Winter Solstice has played throughout human history - across all cultures. From prehistoric times until the present day, from the East to the West, on this Winter Solstice Day people have always gathered to celebrate festivals of light. 

Elaborate festivals of light, dancing, eating and drinking, singing and merriment, bonfires and candles, have been hallmarks of all cultures and religions at this time of year, from the prehistoric days at Stonehenge, to ancient Persian and Asian cultures, to ancient Greek and Roman cultures, to our own day of Hanukkah celebrations, Kwanza and yes, Christmas. There seems to be something inherent in our human condition that calls us to gather together to celebrate this cosmic planetary shift of the "Solstice" on our planet earth.

Some anthropologists and social commentators have suggested that people celebrate the Solstice in order to "ward off" and fight against the gloomy darkness of the longest night of the year. So they light fires and candles and decorate and sing and dance to insulate and protect themselves from the power of the darkness. 

I have a totally different interpretation about why the Winter Solstice has always been so prominent among human beings. 

This may indeed be the shortest day and the longest night of the year, but this is the day when the light returns. The festivals of light are celebrated not to insulate or protect from the night. Solstice celebrations are festivals to welcome the victory of the sun.

On the day of the Winter Solstice, the universe makes a cosmic proclamation that touches something deep and inherent in the human spirit. On this day, the universe announces: Light is more powerful than the darkness of the night, and in the end,

love always wins!

I very much believe in this cosmic proclamation.

There has and always will be evil in our world - wars and hostility among the nations, the rich and powerful crushing the poor and the weak. Unchecked and bloated egos, broken relationships, rampant consumerism are all part of the darkness in which we live. 

And yet, when I sit back and look at the glorious rising sun of a Winter Solstice, I firmly believe that in the long run, the light of love does win over the darkness - and so apartheid comes to an end, peace negotiations happen with long time enemies in places like Iran, America elects an African American president, and people are allowed to marry whomever they love regardless of gender. 

Acts of kindness happen every day, people are reconciled, friends and family gather around festive tables and decorated trees to give and receive tender tokens of love.     

Even in the chaos, we are never alone. There is a Power that is beyond us all, an Abiding Holy Presence of Universal love that fills us and connects us and unites us - a Power that will never abandon and never let us go.

On this Winter Solstice, the human race celebrates a universal truth - even for those who love the darkness, you can never stop the return of the light.  

So light the fires, sing, dance, feast and make merry: "love always wins" 

There is a beautiful celtic "Winter Solstice "blessing. I pray it upon the world this day:

May all your winter places be kissed by light!

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  1. Here on the southern hemisphere today is the year's longest day and shortest night. A very important celebration for the indigenous people of Ecuador and Andes in general. Although for them the most important celebration of the year is Inti Raymi, summer solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. On Inti Raymi they celebrate (even with hundreds of years of Catholic tradition) the Sun god and light.
    Even here where the season's are upside down people celebrate the victory of the light over darkness.

  2. so very fascinating - thanks so much for the comment