The post below was originally published in 2011, and it's been updated each year to reflect where I am in my life and the new...Read More
Last week, Dave and I started our Christmas celebrations at The Revels, a night of Scottish singing, dancing, and music at Dartmouth University. The audience formed a chorus to sing “Deck the Halls,” “Auld Lang Syne,” and “Donna Nobis Pacem” along with the performers on stage. And the cast told tall tales, acted out myths—including scenes with life-size puppets—and then closed the show with a reading of this poem. We liked these words a lot; hope you do, too.
The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper
And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us—listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.