This is the time of year for sadness and for joy.
The earth is distant from the sun, and days are short.
Tempers are short, too, as darkness falls
and days and nights are colder than before.
Some of our ancient ancestors believed
a dragon was swallowing the sun.  They lit
huge bonfires, banged on drums and wood
to drive the beast away and save the world.

Others thought the shortened days a sign
of the impending destruction of their lives,
and vowed to be better than they were
if only the sun would shine on them again.
Believers in all eras and all cultures
have seen the Winter Solstice as a time
for taking stock and looking at themselves,
and joy because the sunlight will return.

Regardless of what we believe—or not—
this is indeed a season to rejoice.
Whether we light candles or trim trees,
this is a time to cherish those we love
and to rejoice that we may live to see
the turning of the darkness into light.
In many tongues we wish each other well,
and hope for many better days to come.

The decorations will not last ‘til spring;
the candles will burn down to little stubs
and then go out, drowned by their dripping wax.
The feasts will end and dishes will be done,
the linens and the silver put away.
The sun will come again and light our days
as we look forward to the Equinox,
with hope that we may see another spring.

Copyright 2009 Dorothy Miller Gutenkauf