Imagine a time without video games, television, dishwashers, coffee machines or frozen pizza. Imagine living without electricity, having to grow your own food, build your own shelter and spending most of your time outside living in harmony with nature.
Instead of checking your email when you wake up each morning you feed the fire, walk down to the river, break through the ice and get a drink of water before you start hunting and foraging for food to feed your family.
Just imagine for a moment being so completely dependent on nature that if it doesn't rain - you don't eat or if it rains too much - you don't eat. Your entire existence depends on your natural world. This world is one you honour, cherish, respect and live in harmony with, because it gives you and your family life.
Since you are living in a time without books or knowledge of astronomy the shorter days and darker nights are a cause for great worry. If the sun continues to disappear and the days continue to get shorter, colder and darker you and your children will die. All of the people you know will die. The sun keeps getting lower in the sky and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it.
After many years of worry, you and your tribe start to realize that every year, just when you think the sun is gone forever it comes back.
Tentative at first you start to trust nature's cycle and have faith that you can depend on the sun and all it gives you. Life will not end. Instead of a time of great worry this becomes a time for gathering together, sharing, singing and celebration.
The winter solstice has been celebrated around the world for thousands of years. Regardless of whether you subscribe to nature based faiths, cling to scientific data or join together in song and scripture the celebration of the solstice is one we can join in together. All of humanity shares its dependence on the sun.
For me personally this is much deeper than astronomy. For me the winter solstice means that even when you are in the depths of despair, at your darkest moment and feel hopeless you can have faith that the "light" will come again. It is also a time to think about the fact that human beings aren't in control - nature is. We must change how arrogant we have become about that.
Mostly though the winter solstice doesn't have presents or shopping attached to it. In our house we gather with friends, eat wonderful food and celebrate life.
Light a candle with me on December 21, 2008 at 12:04 am and let's celebrate the light together.
Thank you for spending time here.