December 21

Winter Solstice 


Today we experience the winter solstice, cause of the shortest and darkest day of the year. In the time before artificial lighting, humans truly knew the meaning of darkness. The time of deepest darkness was the solstice time, but it was also the time when the light began to return. Slowly the days became longer and light increasingly renewed its power over darkness. Light became an archetypal symbol. From the depths of ancient darkness came the plea of the prophets for One who would bring light, who would come and teach a new way of life that would be just and liberating for people suffering in “the darkness and the shadow of death.”

As Christmas approaches, we call on Christ as the dawn, the light, the Sun of Justice. We reflect on Jesus as source of the light that can brighten the world believing that by absorbing his message, we can be ‘enlightened’. We ask that his light will shine in the places of darkness and we live in renewed hope that it can work to create a different world.


May the light of Your truth open our minds and renew our spirits.


How can I be a source of light in whatever darkness I may encounter in my daily life? What specific situations can I address?

Suggested Reading

O Dawn of the East, Brightness of the Light Eternal and Sun of Justice, come and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.
O Antiphon

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12 

Do not make any judgments before the appointed time, until the Lord comes, for the Lord will bring to light what is hidden in the darkness and will manifest the motives of our hearts, and then everyone will receive praise from God.
1 Corinthians:4-5 

Christmas is joy, religious joy, an inner joy of light and peace.
Pope Francis

By virtue of the creation, and, still more of the incarnation, nothing here below is profane for those who know how to see.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

There is a trivality in any spiritual discipline that does not experience itself as supported by the spiritual as well as the physical dynamics of the entire cosmic-Earth process. Ultimately, spirituality is a mode of being in which not only the divine and human commune with each other but through which we discover ourselves in the universe and the universe discovers itself in us.
The Sacred Universe, Thomas Berry

Every an must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.
Mother Teresa

Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space.  It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe.  It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished.
Michael Strassfeld

Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness to pull another hand into the light.
Norman B. Rice

The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come.  At the darkest moment comes the light.
Joseph Campbell 

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.
Desmond Tutu

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.
Og Mandino