Winter Solstice

Today the North Pole will be as far from the Sun as it gets. It is Winter Solstice here in the Northern Hemisphere.

The December Solstice occurs when the Sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, when the North Pole is tilted furthest – 23.5 degrees – away from the Sun.

This year the solstice will occur on
Sunday, 21 December 2014, 23:03 GMT. That’s tonight.

Normally I’d attempt to stay up with a burning candle from sunset to sunrise, but I have to go to work tomorrow and my employer won’t allow time off for non-mainstream religious observations. All the permanent staff have had first pick of the holiday days available already, so I wouldn’t have got the day, or New Years Eve, as ordinary holiday days either.

(In fact on the list of websites we can’t access using work computers, along with social media and porn, is any website about non-mainstream religions. To make it worse, any non-mainstream religion is considered a cult. How lovely.)

As a result of having to work tomorrow I’m cutting short my observances at about 10. I would have liked to stay up at least until 23:03 but I have to get up at half six to catch my bus at half seven. Oh the joys.

Fitting work and faith around each other, as integral parts of life, can be difficult, but it is possible with a little compromise and understanding. I’d love to watch a bonfire through the longest night and see the sunrise over the river, but it isn’t going to happen because I have other obligations; I can only do what I can with the time and resources available to me.

So, today a friend is coming for dinner; we’re having roast pork and veg, followed by Yule gingerbread. I will put a portion aside as an offering, and give thanks for the blessings received since last Midwinter. There will be light.

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