For those of the Northern Hemisphere, the month of December is known as “the darkest time of the year”—and the 21st of December is the longest night of the year. From that day forward, the sun begins anew its upward course in the sky—and the slow return of the bright and beautiful spring and summer begin.
While the winter months are always the darkest, they’ve been a bit darker the last two years because of the pandemic and its related and lingering challenges. COVID has touched us all and devastated some. Work has been more changing and, in some cases, entirely lost. Families and friends have been separated during traditional times of gathering. What was once the “norm” has been anything but “normal.” And all of us surely know someone who had been ravaged by this disease, having suffered greatly or passed from this life entirely. It feels as though the world will never be the same, and the darkness of December has become all the more challenging because of the shroud of night which has enveloped our world during the pandemic.
Of course, darkness has long been a religious symbol of suffering, sorrow, death, and estrangement from God—whereas light has always functioned as a symbol of spirituality, enlightenment, and the presence of the divine. Thus, in Taoism, darkness and light are juxtaposed (in the symbol of Yin & Yang). Likewise, the Bhagavad Gītā declares, “Light and Darkness—these are two ever existing paths” (8:26). One leads to spiritual redemption and the other to spiritual death. The Apostle Paul rhetorically asked, “What fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14) And, in the Qur’an, we are informed that God seeks to lead us “from the depths of darkness…into light” (Sūrah 2:257).
So, what are we to do during these days when so much seems outside of our control? How do we find light in a time of physical, spiritual, and emotional darkness? Well, the one thing that is within our control is the choice as to whether we seek light or we seek darkness. And this year, The Spirituality Project and Soulstice have offered to help us find and focus on the light.
On Tuesday, December 21, 2021, Soulstice and The Spirituality Project will be holding a special online event to help bring some light back into our terribly darkened world. Through a special meditation event, prayers, and other activities, they are encouraging all to kindle the flame of spirituality in their lives, so the light can reign, darkness can be squelched, and peace and love can return. We, at Patheos, are encouraged by this event—and wholeheartedly encourage you to participate… to light a candle, burn some incense, say a prayer or meditate on hope. Whatever you choose to do, we encourage you to set aside some time on that day of darkness to invite more fully into your life the light of the divine. We encourage you to use this event to increase your personal spirituality, enhance your connection with the divine, incorporate a new spiritual practice or rekindle an old one into your life—and let’s all look forward to 2022 with faith and optimism that the change we individually make within can change the world throughout.
Along with your friends at Patheos, please visit the Soulstice website between now and Tuesday, December 21st—and participate in the live events scheduled on that day. The light awaits! Let’s bask in it together!
The Patheos Editorial Team