Happy winter cheer by Rich Feldenberg

This year the Winter Solstice will happen next Saturday. There is evidence that Celebration of the Winter Solstice goes back at least 12,000 years.  The celebration of its significance probably extends considerably further into the past than that. Long before any of the modern religions existed, our ancestors recognized this time of year as important and worthy of respect. It is the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest period of darkness. At winter solstice, long gone are the days of planting and harvest, of sun and warmth.

It’s not hard to imagine that in ancient times winter would have posed a huge threat to the survival of the entire community.  

Before a scientific understanding of the cycling of the seasons, it may have even seemed uncertain that things would ever warm and brighten again.

This might be a good symbolism for mid-life, as well. As a mid-life speaker, I can attest the feeling that the earlier days of Spring and Summer are memories–Growing up in the neighborhood, days at school, first jobs, raising small kids.

But mid-life is really an opportune time to look ahead. We know that as the Earth continues to orbit the sun, the daylight does come back and the cold days start to warm. By mid-life we have learned many valuable life lessons, and that gives us a huge advantage moving forward. We can choose to live better moving forward, make better choices, and have a better understanding of what things are really important.

One anonymous saying goes: “Instead of asking what was I thinking?  Breathe and ask yourself the kinder question: What was I learning?” This next year I’m looking forward to learning lots of new things, growing as a person, and showing love for my family in new ways.  

An anonymous source says this about the Solstice, “the winter solstice can be a beautiful reminder that we are all part of something larger, and that life is always changing and renewing.”

Happy Winter Solstice!!

Rich Feldenberg wrote these words to share some thoughts at Good Cheer (our winter festival) as the mid-life speaker in our Stages of Life question, What are you looking forward to next year?

NOTE: The ideas and opinions in this post do not necessarily express the thoughts or opinions of the Ethical Society of St. Louis or its leadership.