The Winter Solstice has, in our human history, held great mystery. It is the longest and, some would say, darkest night of the year. The sun reaches its southernmost point in its arc. Would the sun rise again? Will the earth enjoy the warmth of its light? Would life continue? It has long been believed that the veil between spiritual and physical planes are at the thinnest point during the time of the solstice. Then, the sun rises, and we are renewed, reborn, resurrected. Hope and life go on.
You are sitting in the middle of the largest cathedral in the United States. It is the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City. Its immensity is breath-taking, soaring pillars surround you. One can barely see from the entrance doors all the way to the altar in front. The lights are dim. An ethereal darkness pervades. On a stage before you, a tree is bathed in an icy blue light. The tree bears chimes and bells. The sounds you hear are the groanings and twistings of the darkest of winter nights — clanging, beating, rippling interspersed with primeval animal voices and wind sounds. Mysterious in its power, the darkness continues and the dissonant music plays.
Then, barely visible at first, a dimly lit disc appears. A dimly lit disc at the altar. The disc begins to glow more brightly as it begins its ascent. It moves ever upward and you recognize that it is a large bronze gong representing the sun. Suspended next to it is the percussionist, slowly and regularly beating the sound that introduces the light. You watch as the light spreads , little by little, pillar by pillar through the cathedral, bathing one pillar and then the next. As the sun rises in its fullness, the cycle is complete. From the darkest night, the sun has again risen. Life will continue. All is well in the physical and spiritual realm.
Such is the experience in the annual Winter Solstice Concert offered at this cathedral. The resonant sounds and music is the work of The Paul Winter Consort. Being present for this program is a powerful and arresting experience.
What does all this mean? It could represent the darkness of events in our lives and the light “at the end of the tunnel.” It might be telling us something of the dark night of the soul, the place where pain and sadness are at depths where we might doubt that light will ever come. We might be thinking about the psychology of depression and how the long dark days influence many people. A myriad of other possibilities exist.
To me, what is of greatest importance is recognizing that the Light is not something outside of us. That it is within us at all times. You don’t have to look for someone or something to bring it to You. YOU are it! YOU are the Light of Love. The Light of Truth. The Light of Compassion. The Light of Kindness. YOU! Yes, YOU! Even if you doubt it, it is true.
There are those who enter into the world to bring the Light to us, to make it tangible, to guide us, to teach us of the Light of Divine and Eternal Love. such is the one who is celebrated at this time of year, for Christ Mass. Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, brought this message. We are blessed to know it and what his true words meant.
Gloria in Exccelsis Deo!
Believe in the Truth! YOU are the Light of Divine and Eternal Love. Nothing less!