This is the night when you can trust,
that any direction you go,
you will be walking toward the dawn. 
Can we trust that the direction we’re headed will get us there? How about those times when we were certain that the path was the right one…only to discover that we’ve lost our way? What of those times when we’re unsure what lies beyond the bend?
But to the ancients, Winter Solistice signified that despite missteps and misfortune, something altogether mysterious was afoot. From the neolithic structures in England and Ireland, the worship of the gods Apollo and Saturn by the ancient Greeks and Romans, observances by the Native Americans, and the ancient Persian festival of Shab-e Yalda, this union of awareness emerges and takes hold. Even when Christianity emerged onto the world scene, ancient winter solstice celebrations became incorporated into Christmas.
What, then, is the Blessing of the Longest Night? Though the world’s peoples are separated by geography and culture; language and religion; ethnicity, national identity, and borders; the longest night ushers in a shared human experience. A shared experience marked by a sense of wonder and celebration. Despite all that divides us as the human family, for the briefest moments, we become one. A union and blessing that walks us and all creation toward a new dawn and a new beginning.
 Image by SASCHA SCHUERMANN | Credit: AFP/Getty Images
 An excerpt from Jan L. Richardson’s poem, Blessing for the Longest Night.