#ThankfulThursday: Winter Solstice and the Promise of Light

Happy Winter Solstice!

The sun sets early on these waning days of December. Shorter days, longer nights…winter has officially arrived. We greet it with open arms, even though we have reason to suspect it’ll overstay its welcome.

Winter calls upon our innermost reserves: We bundle up, hibernate, illuminate our homes with artificial light, and dream about spring. Joy to the world, the sun returns!

On this shortest day of the year, I’m reminded of a scene from Northern Exposure. In this snippet from his radio broadcast, philosopher king Chris Stevens is waxing poetic about the power of hope, and the ultimate triumph of light over dark.

Goethe’s final words: ‘More light.’ Ever since we crawled out of that primordial slime, that’s been our unifying cry: ‘More light.’ Sunlight, torchlight, candlelight, neon, incandescent, light to banish the darkness from our caves, to illuminate our roads, the insides of our refrigerators. Big floods for the night games at Soldier’s Field, little tiny flashlight for those books we read under the covers when we’re supposed to be asleep. Light is more than watts and footcandles, light is metaphor. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet. Rage, rage against the dying of the light! Lead, kindly light, amid the encircling gloom, lead thou me on. The night is dark and I am far from home, lead thou me on. Arise, shine, for thy light has come. Light is knowledge, light is life, light is light.” ~ “Chris in the Morning,” on the TV series Northern Exposure.


  1. Darkness and quiet moments can offer solace, too. But light up here in the North is complex and ever changing. Soon Canada’s northern early darkness in the afternoons will begin a slow movement toward longer light for each day. Up here we measure the small changes of the sun’s awakening in late December when the longest night of the year passes – and it begins to release a tiny amount of its light in each late afternoon. It lightens the heart!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *