When dawn broke through the trees in my back yard early that morning that happened to be the shortest day of the year in this part of the world, it was clear that the beginning of winter officially began in this hemisphere, bringing colder temperatures, snow, rain torrents, dangerous icy roads, power outages and darkness.

December 21st, when the North Pole is tilted farthest away from the Sun bringing the fewest hours of sunlight of the year here, many find the darkness depressing, the cold unbearable, the ongoing 3-fold respiratory bugs (flu, RSP, Covid) disconcerting and the political gyrations stressful.

The very word ‘winter’ can bring far more to mind than simply the weather.  the ‘winter of the soul’ can emerge in hearts that have become cold because of fear, hatred and chaos.

Perhaps this Winter Solstice, the words of Albert Camus can encourage us to discover “an invincible summer” within ourselves:

“In the midst of hate,
I discovered within me an invincible love.
In the midst of tears,
I discovered within me an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos,
I discovered an invincible calm.
I realized through it all that,
in the midst of winter,
there was an invincible summer.
For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me,
within me there is something stronger
something better,
pushing right back.”   

This winter, ongoing concern about the people of Ukraine going through another winter while dealing with bombings, attacks, power outages, continues to lay heavily on the hearts of many as does concern for the escalating situation in the Middle East. 

As this, the shortest day of the year, marks a shift in the weather, darkness slowly begins to recede, light begins to expand and days begin to get longer, so too, may those who suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder breathe a sigh of relief and those experiencing a very bleak winter discover the Winter Solstice’s light of hope and healing break-through for people whose lives are lived in conflict, suffering and pain.

May Winter Solstice/Yule bring its light of hope of an “invincible summer” to each of us and encourage a ‘break-through’ of the “Winter of the Soul,” giving time and space to look-within and nurture connection to Spirit.

This is the solstice, the still point
of the sun, its cusp and midnight,
the year’s threshold
and unlocking, where the past
lets go of and become the future;
the place of caught breath, the door
of a vanished house left ajar.
(Margaret Atwood)

© June Maffin