The Great Shout of Joy!
Today, at 3:45 AM MST, officially marks the first day of winter in
the Northern Hemisphere. The word solstice comes from Latin
sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still). In ancient times, people
believed that on this day the sun stood still. The
seasonal holiday of Winter Solstice is also an actual event that
occurs with the planet. When the planet’s tilt in the Northern
Hemispher is the farthest from the sun, that's when the Winter
Solstice happens. It is the shortest day of the year, but Winter
Solstice celebrations focus on the fact that the days will now
slowly grow longer and we celebrate the rebirth of a new year.
Winter Solstice is a time of quiet firelight, a time to nurture
dreams. The dark clear nights reveal the bright stars. We
celebrate the shortest day and the longest night of the year in
anticipation of the rebirth of the sun and contemplate our own
spiritual rebirth. We see this time of year as a turning point and
a time of year to renew energy.
I look out the window and see the garden boxes buried in a
layer of snow. The soil lies dormant, patiently waiting for the
warmer and brighter days of spring. The resting soil of the cold
winter days and nights reminds me that the future always holds
promise. Come spring, seeds will germinate and take root.
Likewise, I believe the future will manifest our visions and
For now, while we wait for the rebirth of the sun, we stand still.
Winter Solstice is a time of reflection, a time to light the wood
stove, stoke up the heat, soak in the warmth, sit quietly
surrounded by lit candles, delve into a good novel, and dream.
I invite you to begin and end this special once-a-year-day with
this prayer by Edward Hays from Prayers for a Planetary
A Winter Solstice Prayer
The dark shadow of space leans over us. . . . .
We are mindful that the darkness of greed, exploitation, and
hatred also lengthens its shadow over our small planet Earth.
As our ancestors feared death and evil and all the dark powers
of winter, we fear that the darkness of war, discrimination, and
selfishness may doom us and our planet to an eternal winter.
May we find hope in the lights we have kindled on this sacred
night, hope in one another and in all who form the web-work of
peace and justice that spans the world.
In the heart of every person on this Earth
burns the spark of luminous goodness;
in no heart is there total darkness.
May we who have celebrated this winter solstice,
by our lives and service, by our prayers and love,
call forth from one another the light and the love
that is hidden in every heart.
Wishing you the peace and beauty of winter. May you find
yourself listening closely to everything and discovering how you
sweetly belong. May you "hear the great shout of joy within you
and set it free to arrive in the world."
Make today wonderful!