Today is the winter solace. The longest day of the year. The mark of winter. This morning I lit a small tea candle in a jar of water to celebrate that we made it through the night of the year where the darkest lingers around the most. That’s something, especially for 2020.
It’s probably just me that’s now noticing this, but we celebrate the time of light amid the darkest time of the year. When the days are the shortest, when the nights are the longest, we decorate our houses with lights, hang up decorative trees, and light candles that cast long shadows. We bake for celebration, cookies and warm soups, bread and pastries. We cozy up by fires. Some of us bundle up in sweatshirts and coats to walk through the cold and sometimes snow to attend festivals of lights. Some of us celebrate the birth of when the One, True light was born upon the earth. Because even in darkness, with the long shadows cast over the ground throughout the day, light penetrates through. Light overcomes. It takes only a little bit of warm glow to penetrate and brighten a whole room of darkness.
Just like it only took a little baby of light to penetrate through a blackened world.
All of this brings me to the thought of this year and its peculiarities and also the upcoming year.
2020 hasn’t been isn’t the only time where the world felt an unusual heaviness. It hasn’t been the only time we have experienced darkness and sick and other undesirable things. This isn’t the only time and it won’t be the last. But even so, I strive to celebrate the light, hope, and joy that comes with this year and the new one to come. 2021 brings just as many uncertainties as it does hope. The type of hope and joy that aren’t present on their own, but coexist with fear and pain. The joy and hope that happens despite that hard times.
As I celebrate Christmas, the celebration of light in darkness, and the birth of a new year, the hope and joy of what is to come, I hope to remember this year for what it was. Not as one that I never want to remember, but one that I made it through clumsily enough, the one where I found love, hope, and joy in the small things right under my nose. The one where I lit a candle with lingering shadows.