Yes, the winter solstice draws ever closer and occurs on Sunday, 22 December. In Welsh Druidic and Celtic tradition the name of this season’s festival is ‘Alban Arthan’, Welsh for ‘Light of Winter’. I love the winter!
Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.
Below, there are a couple of resources, liturgies – one more inclusive, and the second, perhaps, more ‘Christian’ (but both, hopefully, can be adapted for your group or personal use). They are liturgies (or, enacted poems) of gratitude to the Winter Solstice-Giver.
‘Words are containers for power. You choose what kind of power they carry.’ Joyce Meyer
I love liturgy. Not only can words cause us to pause and think deeper, but the words of liturgy can have an even more beneficial effect.
Words have power.
With a word all that is visible and invisible was created and is sustained. With a word we make life-long promises to each other. Through the words of liturgy we can be ‘transported’ to, and dwell within the realm of the liminal, that ‘gap’ between Here and the Other, that ‘ thin place’, a place of power and potential, where things happen, and where we can be changed.
‘The magic of words is that they have power to do more than convey meaning; not only do they have the power to make things clear, they make things happen.’ Frederick Buechner
Liturgy can have a greater and more far-reaching positive effect that we can possibly imagine as your thoughts, intentionality and energy affect the web of connectedness. So, use your words wisely, but do use them – and the following resources may be of use to you.
In each case below that ‘starting point’, the way you are facing (and I know individuals and groups have their own preferences and so ‘starting points’ can be changed if you so wish, but the initial ‘starting point’ is used, below, so that the final cardinal point you face is east, the direction of the rising sun. Clever, huh?).
Liturgy #1 For the Winter Solstice Sunrise
Standing. Recite, facing south:
In this time when it is darkest,
we offer gratitude for all that was and is,
and for all that is about to be born in secret.
Recite, facing west:
In this season of expectation
we draw near in unity and peace for all,
to offer praise and worship to the Spirit of all.
Recite, facing north:
At this intersection of time and space
when Heaven touches Earth,
we look forward in anticipation and hope
to the year ahead.
Recite, facing east (as the sun rises):
Yea, Source of All, we greet you,
born this happy morning.
Sun of Righteousness, who brings the day and gives light,
and who testifies to birth, new birth and re-birth in our hearts.
I/We welcome you.
You might also like to consider the following
Liturgy #2 For the Winter Solstice Sunrise
For this you will need five Candles (Advent-style with candle-holders or tea lights). The candles can be lit five days before Alban Arthan or Christmas day, or sequentially on the day of the Solstice, that is at one event, sequentially lit.
The following may be recited as the first candle is lit:
All: We walked in darkness, but you showed us the light. We pray for those (individuals and nations) that walk in darkness, that they, too, may see the light that shines in the darkness, and rises (like the wind) in the east. (Based on Isaiah 9.2)
The following may be recited as the second candle is lit:
All: The light shines in the darkness, still. And the darkness did not comprehend it. We give thanks for the light continues to shine and guides us on the right path as the sun that shines in the noonday, the southern sky. (Based on John 1:5)
The following may be recited as the third candle is lit:
All: You are the light of all that is, and indwell all of creation, so that we, too, let our light shine. We seek ways to live out that light in our life, in service to all as water flows through the land to the western sea. (Based on Matthew 5:14)
The following may be recited as the fourth candle is lit:
All: There will be no night there, because Your light will illumine us. We praise you for that great promise of light as we stand firm with our feet on the earth, looking to the north. (Based on Revelation 22:5)
The following may be recited as the fifth candle is lit:
All: Light from Light Eternal, Spirit incarnated this happy morning, we greet you. (Based on a carol, based on ancient sacred text)
You might like to personalise the liturgy and add peoples names, or the names of countries or towns or places in need. There is a need for the light of wisdom to be established in the world, to bring up the plight of humankind’s damage to nature and the climate, to ponder injustice etc.
Wishing you and yours the abundant love of The Friend at the time of this wonderful season, Tadhg,
‘Your words become your world.’ Nadeem Kazi