For us in the Northern Hemisphere, today is the shortest day in 2018.
The sun was already setting at about 15.52 – giving us less than eight hours of daylight and thus begins the longest night of the year. Does that mean we sleep longer?
Unfortunately not. Just means it will still be dark when we get up.
But there’s a bright outlook to this – as this night also marks the beginning of the reversal of the shortening days. The sun had been ebbing it’s presence for the last months since September when we began to feel the days shortening. In a few days time, we look forward to daylight being prolonged gradually.
In the weeks leading up to this midwinter day or the Winter Solstice, that coincides with Christmas celebrations, the darkening days have been welcomed with fairy lights on trees, candles and fires.
On this night as we walked around the neighbourhood, we looked into the windows of homes with Christmas trees.
Just taking in the beauty and warmth that the fairy lights bring to this shortest day of the year.
And sometimes we find something different from all the others. Instead of the pretty white LED lights on tall elegant trees, we find a multicoloured light display of Santa and Elves – and even a Nativity scene in the window.
May’s comment: I love walking around the neighbourhood and looking at all the beautifully decorated trees in the windows and the wreaths of various interpretations on the doors. It was quite joyous really to find something different – multicoloured lights and a Nativity scene. That brought a smile, remembering that so many years ago when the Christmas tree at home had all about different coloured fairy lights and baubles. How gaudy would be my reaction these days.
Many, many years ago, I had made a Nativity scene and it became one of our main Christmas decorations at home. Next to it was a snowman that my sister had made. This season is riddled with all sorts of symbols – from Christmas trees, Santa Claus and Elves, reindeer and snowmen that puts us all in a merry-making mode. That is till the Eve of Christmas when the stores finally close their doors, most restaurants are closed, and everyone seems to dissipate. There are fewer cars on the roads, while the windows light up with activity or just people being home. For those of us who celebrate Christmas we stop to remember that all the merry-making in the weeks leading up to the Eve of Christmas – brings us to this Silent Night, Holy Night – and we are reminded that the Nativity scene is the heart of the season.
We will be in the Dorset country side this year and it will be definitely silent night.