LET THERE BE LIGHT

In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”–Albert Camus

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Today is Thursday, December 22nd, 2022. 12/22/22. “22” is my lucky number, so this day of the month is always one of my favorite.

Yesterday was December 21st (obviously). Yesterday was also the winter solstice, the day of the year with the least light, and the most dark. After the summer solstice on (about) June 21st, the days leading up to it shorten incrementally every day, and I do not fail to notice the absence of light as the daylight continues to wane.

My spirit wanes with it.

I have a small legion of friends who are acutely attuned to it as well. We celebrate the light, and bemoan the dark. I say “friends” because even though my sisters are my dearest friends, I am not referring to them. Suzanne prefers the dark (weirdo). Gail, in her usual fashion, loves each and every day, no matter the minutes of daylight, the amount of sunshine, the weather conditions, or the reading on her own personal barometer. She knows not a dark day, or a long night–mostly because she hardly sleeps, but I digress.

I bemoan the dark and celebrate the light, and I wish I could celebrate both. But, since I know there is likely a majority of readers who actually (like me) prefer more daylight, I am speaking to you.

This is the season of light. Christmas lights, Hanukkah lights, light from one person to another in the form of holiday cheer, and the reason for Christmas, the Light of the World.

Light keeps hope alive, just like the Star of Bethlehem did over two thousand years ago.

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This morning, on the 22nd, in the frigid minus-30-something wind chill, I opted to stay inside and use the “dreadmill.” My outdoor morning run/walk jumps starts me almost every morning, but it was not meant to be today. I made it for 22 minutes and burned 222 calories. I took those auspicious numbers as a sign to call it good enough.

One month from today, Gail, Suzanne and I, along with our brothers, will gather to celebrate our family Christmas a bit late. We decided the Christmas season was already too busy, so we will celebrate it on what would have been our mother’s 86th birthday–January 22nd. That’s why my lucky number is #22.

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If you know Gail and Suzanne, then you know they both shine their lights in their own unique ways, every day of the year. Gail, in her usual over-the-top but ever-so-awesome way, has once again organized a celebration for her small western Kansas town to heighten their Christmas joy.

Modeled after the “Georgetown Santas” in the small city Suzanne and I live in, she began this tradition three years ago: Gail, along with 14 other residents on those two blocks on a hill, and Elm Street, at the bottom of the hill, become the “Santas of South Sixth,” and the “Elves of Elm Street.” They all prepare treats–candy, snacks, small toys such as Hot Wheels and Play-Doh for the community’s young, as well as adult treats for the young at heart. The city police department works in conjunction with her and the neighbors on those two blocks to direct traffic down their street, letting the cars cruise slowly down the hill, and the “Santas” come to the car to deliver their goodies to everyone. This year, they will again brave the extreme cold, undeterred.

Gail is preparing over 300 of these adult treatsboth in small cups and in cubes.

It is a young, but already much-anticipated Christmas tradition in her town. It is yet another way Gail chooses to shine her light. I wish I could go, but family celebrations will be underway at my home, too.

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According to an online almanac, daylight increases by less than a minute every day at this point, but continues to increase as we move toward the summer solstice on Wednesday, June 21st, 2023. I stepped outside in the one degree temps just long enough to take this picture from my porch at 4:45 pm, then again at 5:13 pm. I came in, cozied back up under a blanket as I wrote, and turned on the weather to check the local wind chill. Of course, it was minus 22.

This post is unusual in that it is a Thursday evening, and I generally post on Sunday evenings. This Sunday, however, is Christmas Day. My hope for you is that your light will be shining bright with your family on Christmas and every day, and will continue to shine brighter as the sun shines for just a bit longer every day.

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE SISTERS OF THE SISTER LODE

This picture was taken on the winter solstice from our brother’s front porch three years ago. We gathered at his home to celebrate Christmas a bit early that year.

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