Winter solstice 2012 was a quiet day.Planes did not fall out of the sky. A nuclear holocaust was not launched. A giant meteorite did not slam into our planet. But if you had listened for a quieter strain, you would have heard her. A new world had begun.
One of the reasons I find the history of Christmas so fascinating is because it's a perfect example of how radically America has changed throughout the past four centuries, and how much it continues to change today just in our lifetimes.
In the last few years, I have grown more aware of and more intimate with the role that light and dark play in my life. There's no better example of this than my family's over 30-year participation in a traditional party on the winter solstice.
Counter-intuitive as it may be for those of a particularly rigid faith, I marvel at the way ancient, pagan traditions can bring unexpected and quietly powerful meaning into the celebration of many Christian rituals.
I would like for us to redeem ourselves to each other, to come to terms with the distance we put between us and our neighbors, to release ourselves from indifference, to recognize that our lives are indelibly interconnected.
There are two solstices each year. These are astronomical moments when the light is greatest and the dark is least (Summer Solstice) and when the light is least and darkness is greatest (Winter Solstice). Each solstice is a domain of experience unto itself.
Thanks to scientific knowledge, we understand why December 21st is the shortest day in the year. But that wasn't so for ancient human beings, who feared the sun might never shine long enough again to grow crops.
Let us all respond with love and kindness in honor of the children in Connecticut and everywhere that have fallen victim to violence. We are One Human Family despite our differences, we grieve with the same tears and laugh with the same open hearts.
This season, when the darkness seems to grow deeper around us, may be the time to gather often with candles marking prayers for the future and help tip the scales towards peace and greater understanding.
The winter solstice (Dec. 21 in the Northern Hemisphere) is one of the most important celestial events of the year, and it has always been a festival of lights in every culture. In ancient times, people knew that winter would be hard, so they found a way to feel hope in the season of dark.
With the Maya apocalypse fast approaching, now is the time to start crossing some things off your bucket list. If you've ever wanted to stay on a private island, gamble with your life savings, or treat yourself to the best meal on Earth, you've got less than two weeks to do it.
As we come toward the time of the winter solstice and a few days later the celebration of Christmas, we are reminded once again of the primal mystery of darkness and light, and the light being born in the darkness.
There is always something -- a little spark of divinity, a little oil to make a ray of light to shine in the darkness -- something we can take hold of and use to re-build our lives. All it takes is a little light, a little hope to get started.
Nature has parked itself on small sections of our city's corner. Soon, the trees will be gone, my son observes, sold to homes where they will decorate living rooms and be adorned with bows, ornaments, trinkets and gifts. His living room will be empty of such wonder.