Sacred Winter Solstice, when the sun seems to “stand still,” and from this day until exactly six months later, each day will have an increasing duration of light, and nights will shorten. There was a time in human history when the daily loss of sunlight was fraught with fear and foreboding, that the earth and its inhabitants were plunging into endless Night. Gradually, human beings came to realize that Light and Darkness are in a constant battle, and that beginning with the Winter Solstice, sunlight would be increasing, chasing away the powers of darkness, and the dread of death by annihilation. And so there was much rejoicing, and celebration in villages and in city streets, with eating and drinking and dancing. The Winter Solstice marked the cosmic return of Light, and the beginning of a New Year. We have moved the day of celebrating the triumphant of light and cosmic renewal 10 days later than the Solstice —until January 1st, the 8th day of Christmas. The concluding day of the Feast of Light, the birth of Christ, now marks for us the beginning of a New Year.
The time of sunlight is growing. Winter storms may blast, but “when Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?” Darkness has its own charms and beauty, but it also threatens to extinguish the light. Now we see Light growing, and know from yearly experience that new forms of life will soon be appearing on the earth. We wait with hope to see earth renewed with Life. And in time the Sun will triumph even until it burns, and we beg for relief, for rain, for consoling darkness once again. Nature has its cycles, its wonders, its enchanting ways.
A new year. The new is never wholly new, the old never fully old. What we have been, we shall be. What arrives anew, has come before, in one form or another. Each moment is a unique creation by the Almighty, each moment filled with possibilities, and yet—what has been endures. Nothing is truly lost forever, nothing is wholly new. The Cosmic Mystery in which we passionately share with everything in us continues to unfold, ever ancient, ever new. How vast, how beautiful, at times how terrifying the Whole in which we find ourselves. Our hope lies beyond the seemingly endless cosmic cycles of light and darkness, of life and death, of coming to be and passing away. Our hope is in the One ever creating, ever renewing.