Another Solstice is on its way, and already I look forward to the growing light that will come from this point, and the sign that Spring and new life are not so far away. This period, for me, of long nights and short days is one of hibernation, a chance to reflect on what has been and what is to come, a time to give thanks for the year gone by and to embrace the adventure of the unknown that lies ahead in this age of change.
It is a time, too, to anticipate the gifts of a season of celebration when for many of us work ceases for a few days and there is reunion and feasting, religious remembering and, perhaps, peace on Earth. Particularly at a time like this, it is hard to witness the brutality of fanatics without heart in Pakistan, to hear of children killing a homeowner in London in order to gatecrash a party, or to learn that terrorist threat has silenced a new film comedy to do with North Korea. We may not want to hear about the dark side of human nature at this time, but we must not hide from the truth about our human society: we have much to learn and much to do.
As the world divides more and more between those who do their best and those who do their worst, we need leaders of example and influence more than ever. I was saddened to hear the exiled Dalai Lama say that he might be last man to hold the position, for he has given so much to the world, and with humour and humility. As he admitted, however, in the same interview, an appointed successor could prove to be unfit to be a religious leader, which could be worse than not having one at all.
Great spiritual teachers have always been among us even if they are not recognised as such, and as the need for them grows with the falling apart of humanity, they will continue to appear, and serve. The Pope is one such true public servant and there are others, some of whom will never receive recognition for what they do, others who will. It is a time, at this Solstice time, to give thanks to these ones, too.
At 2303 GMT on 21st December, it will be the exact moment of the Solstice, and time, momentarily, will stop and the world will be in balance. If you stop and listen, you will hear the angels sing, and you will know that all is well.
I have recorded a special guided meditation for this Solstice, and you can access it by clicking the link here
(Image of angels singing by Benjamin West
Image of a solstice dawn over Llanrug, Wales by Eric Jones)