A lightThe winter solstice… the longest night of the year.

For those who experience the weight of the darkness, this is a difficult time. How do you explain that ‘merry’ is not your primary emotion at Christmas?

I don’t find that the darkness affects me, but I do have “moods” throughout the year. Ordinary Spouse knows about these, and she seems to understand. I fear that my girls have also been on the “receiving end” of them. It’s not the ‘me’ that I’m most proud of.

From time to time, I wonder what depression is like. I wonder if maybe that is what is going on in me. I read about how other people experience depression and feel relieved that I’m not alone. (If you know me, you should read that article. Really.)

Generally, though, I don’t worry too much about myself, because my moods don’t last long. I’ve learned that the best thing may be for me to avoid interaction with others (to save them from me), to get a good night’s rest, and to begin again with a new day. It’s all good – the darkness passes.

But maybe not completely. Maybe it leaves its mark in interesting ways. Because at this time of year, I am drawn to the mystery and the longing of Advent, more than the ‘merry’ of Christmas. I identify more closely with the ashes of Lent, than the light of Easter. I embrace the gifts of doubt. I am thankful for the saints of darkness that God places among us.

And today I don’t fear the darkness of the winter solstice. I can’t carry its weight for those who do, but I can walk alongside.

We’ll kick the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight.

(Thanks to Bruce Cockburn for his song “Lovers in a Dangerous Time” and its defiant vow to “kick at the darkness”.)