Yes, these are dark times, and winter is here. For meteorologists, winter begins on December 1.
Astronomical winter in the Northern Hemisphere begins on the December solstice. This year, it falls on December 21 at 4:40 am Central Time. At the time of the December solstice, the sun appears to be directly overhead at the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern hemisphere.
Winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere is the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere--so they are celebrating summer in Antarctica.
It is the shortest day in Chicago -- 9 hours, 7 minutes, and 43 seconds. On December 21, sunrise will occur at 7:15 am. Sunset will occur at 4:23 pm.
After the winter solstice, increasing hours of daylight begin, leading up to the summer solstice in June--the longest day of the year.
On the Old Celtic Calendar, the December solstice was called midwinter. Yes, there will be solstice gatherings at Stonehenge.
It may be that the winter solstice was the most important celebration of the year. The main stones are directly aligned with the sunset on the winter solstice. It marked the completion of the circle of the year, the darkest time, the longest night, and the beginning of the return of the sun.
The dark times of winter are also a time of growth and renewal. May you enjoy the bright lights and company of family and friends. May you find peace and clarity in quiet pursuits. May you find balance in this season.
Whatever you do, know that now the light is increasing. Yes, a little bit more each day.
Love light and peace to all!