With the winter solstice upon us, the days of darkness are back. The sun rises each morning after many of us leave for work. We may catch glimpses of it as it traverses its low December arc, a distant friend, shimmering dimly outside the hospital’s windows. By the time we head for home, it’s gone.
Dark days have returned in a figurative sense too. If you read the news, you know what I mean. We may shake our heads in disbelief and disappointment but, really, given what we know about history, should we be surprised? It’s no coincidence that the world’s religions preach hope against darkness, and it’s no coincidence that this is the season of beloved holidays. We light candles and gather around fireplaces to counter the darkness, both literally and figuratively.
In the sun’s absence, we must create our own light. We do so by speaking honestly. By respecting one another. By welcoming new neighbors. By putting the needs of others before our own. By committing to peace.
We are an eclectic residency community. We celebrate many different holidays, in different ways, on different days. Some of us are religious, others secular. Tonight, my Christian wife will celebrate Hanukkah. On Tuesday, I will celebrate Christmas. On both nights, there will be candles.
Winter nights are only as dark as we allow them to be. In the shadow of despair, we must become beacons of hope.
Today marks the day that follows the shortest day of the year. Though the difference might be imperceptible, the sun will shine just a bit longer today. In the weeks ahead, each day will grow brighter than the one before. In our annual journey around the sun, brighter days call to us, both as a promise and a responsibility. May it be so, and let us make it so.
Wishing you all a safe, restful, joyous holiday season.
For your reading pleasure: 10 things to know about the winter solstice.