Today is the Winter Solstice

By David Joel Miller

Sunrise at Stonehenge.

Winter solstice.
Photo courtesy of

Today marks the time of another change – the Winter Solstice.

The Winter Solstice is sometimes called the midwinter, it marks the point when the sun, here in the Northern hemisphere is as far south as it will go. From here on out we wait for the return of the Sun.

Today marks the shortest day and the longest night we will experience this year. For some of us this realization will be a comfort and for others, it will be a reminder of the temporariness of our human experience.

For most of us, the worst of the winter storms remains ahead. All the while we should be reminding ourselves that the best of times is just ahead. Before long spring will return and then the cycle of life will renew itself again.

We all should take this time to reflect on how much of our lives here on this crazy planet is dependent on the Sun and the fact that our planet leans on its axis and turns once each year around the Sun. The result of this cyclical rotation is all those things that we may well take for granted.

Humans mark the time of our lives by these seasons. One trip around the sun and we add one more number to the sum of things we call our age.

Some of us will learn something each time we make that trip and others are content just to have returned each year to the starting place.

In ancient times this event, occurring at sundown on the day of the solstice, was a time for celebrations, festivals and holidays. Today we should be thinking of things that have ended and things that will begin as the cycle of the year advances.

The story is told that this day marks the beginning of the three famine months when food was in short supply and the grim reaper of starvation walked the land. Despite all out belief in the progress of man, this day and the three months to come mark the time when the poor are the neediest and food banks the most strained in their efforts to preserve the poor from another winter of hunger.

That tradition of marking the change of the seasons continues to this day in many places. In predominantly Christian countries the celebration of the Winter Solstice has largely been replaced by the observation of Christmas.

Some will take today to make the start of one last binge effort to accumulate gifts for the day of celebration that marks Christmas.

Personally, I take time on this day to reflect on things lost and things gained and the time for transition from one of life’s periods to another. I also remember on this day a dear friend lost and a new person who came into my life.

Here is wishing you a happy solstice and the hope that you will not lose the meaning of these last few days before Christmas to the roar of indulgence.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended books.

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2 thoughts on “Today is the Winter Solstice

  1. Pingback: Christmas: Jumping Ship or Casting an Anchor? | BeReal Yoga

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