The winter season is a time of transitions, of moving through darkness into the promise of light. It is no accident that several religious festivals reflect this annual experience, as the nights become long and the days dark and cold. The Winter Solstice (December 21) is the occasion for the Wiccan celebration of the rebirth of the sun, and for the Shinto ceremony marking the end of the yin (fading) of the sun and its re-entry into the yang (growth) cycle. From the lighting of candles on the Jewish Hannukah menorah, to the burning of the Yule log to the glowing candles on the Christian Advent wreath, this season invites us to live in the tension between the darkness and the light, the hard realities of daily life and the promises and possibilities that always lie before us.
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