Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Bringing Light and Love to the Darkest Day

By Kay Kendall

Today is December 20, and so, just as the night follows the day, tomorrow will be December 21. In the Northern Hemisphere that marks the winter solstice. This date will bring the shortest day in the year and its night the longest. During the solstice, the sun's position relative to Earth seems to pause--the word solstice itself means "stationary sun." The winter solstice serves as a turning point in many cultures and midwinter as an occasion to celebrate and bring light into the vast darkness.

To speak metaphorically, I write here to urge that we bring light into the lives of those around us at this darkest time of year. Mental health professionals tell us that sadness and depression are rampant in December during the holidays. Expectations are often high for fun and warm feelings--and also often dashed. If we are mindful of this, and if we care about our fellow human beings, then just think what a kind remark or thoughtful gesture can do to bring light and hope to a scarred or lonely soul at this treacherous time.
The association of light with hope and love seems to be true across cultures. The thought that it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness is variously attributed to Confucius, the Old Testament of the Bible, Eleanor Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy. No doubt there are more associations that I did not find in my brief online search.

One substance that flashes brightly and brings light is gold. Gold is usually seen as precious and a good thing. Hence the word "gold" is attached to the basic tenet of many faiths, for what Christians call the Golden Rule. Here again we find this across many religions. The graphic below shows a good summary.

Being kind to one another, bringing light and cheer to others' lives--these seem like gifts that we can all give that will mean so much both to ourselves and to our neighbors. In the darkest hours we all need light. As long as I can remember I have loved sitting in my blackened living room and gazing at a lit Christmas tree. I still love doing that and also driving around neighborhood streets that are brightly lit for the season. This all comes full circle for me, both symbolically and literally. Do spread the light and the joy. Please do. We all need these things.


Meet the author                                                                 
Kay Kendall is a long-time fan of historical novels and now writes atmospheric mysteries that capture the spirit and turbulence of the sixties. A reformed PR executive who won international awards for her projects, Kay lives in Texas with her Canadian husband, three house rabbits, and spaniel Wills. Terribly allergic to her bunnies, she loves them anyway! Rainy Day Women  won two Silver Falchion Awards at Killer Nashville in 2016. Visit her website

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