Winter Solstice

Winter is my least-loved season, possibly because I have poor circulation in my hands and feet. I associate fun in the snow with painfully aching toes and fingers. Short, dark days I don’t like either, nor do I care for the deadly sterility winter imposes on nature.

For all these reasons and more, the winter solstice is a day I look forward to. On December 21, life stops getting worse and starts getting better. Yes, January is also cold and dark, but every morning the sun comes up slightly earlier and the day is infinitesimally longer. We are moving in the right direction, toward green shoots and singing birds, toward long summer evenings.

They say the church set Christmas at the winter solstice in order to borrow the prestige of a pagan holiday. If so it was a brilliant match. Christmas, after all, marks the day when Jesus was born. Before that day, the best we could hope for was to end up dead. Since that day, every day brings us closer to Summer. Christmas reminds me, as does winter solstice, that we have turned a corner.

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