Deepest Darkest Dearest

I love the Solstice. It’s such an important day of the holidays for us, marking the root of the whole season. We’re not Christian, so Jesus isn’t the reason for our season –  but the ideas that he represents within that religion, light, love, compassion, kindness, generosity, these are pretty universal human values that we can rely on to guide us through the darkest days and the longest nights, and for us, those are the spirit of Christmas, Yule and the Solstice.   Every day between now and Twelfth Night, this family will concentrate on those things- like we try to all year – but it’s just so much easier to keep our focus there when there’s a big honking pagan symbol of the season in our living room. 

Today, the house smells of apples, squash and onions roasting for the soup for dinner, the now traditional solstice peppermint bark is made and  put in wee bags,  ready to be slipped into pockets of friends who pretend to be unsuspecting, but are hopeful that it will be there.

Joe and I have straightened the house, put fresh candles in every holder- and the ice lanterns  that we light on this night are frozen and ready to line the steps to our door. We’ll talk later about what donations we’ll make for the season, today is the day that we give money to those trying to make more of what we would like to see in the world. (This year as always, MSF will be on the top of our list, as well as Because I am a Girl.)  Tonight I’ll welcome friends, and I’ll put out steaming bowls of soup, and they’ll bring bread and things to share, and we’ll lift our glasses to the longest night, the shortest day, the return of the sun, and the light and reaffirm our intention to bring more love to the worlds we live in every day.

Happy Winter Solstice. Light a candle, start the season, I wish you light, and peace and love. 

203 thoughts on “Deepest Darkest Dearest

  1. And light, peace, and love to you as well, who bring so much of those qualities to the world.

  2. And the same to you and yours. (The sound of fresh soup is making me hungry – it sounds delicious).

  3. My big donation is always to Peace Corps Partnerships. Not just because I am an RPCV, but it is one of the few groups that the first rule is the community has to come up with a plan and approach the PCV about what they think they need and why. It isn’t an outside group saying “you need this” then giving it to them.
    I’d never heard of Because I am a Girl. Will definitely have to look into that one! Thanks.

  4. Thanks, Stephanie, for expressing your feelings about the season in a way that I have long felt but found almost impossible to convey gracefully. As a non-Christian in a mostly-Christian family, it has been hard to communicate my thoughts about the season without giving offense. You warm my heart. Thank you.

  5. Thank you for putting it so well. As a non-Christian I have found it hard to find a way to make the season make sense for me. I appreciate your thoughts.
    Oh..and one of the highlights for me of 2012 was meeting you when you came to A Verb For Keeping Warm in California. I was the one that talked too much.
    May 2013 be good to you and yours.

  6. And even though it’s from a Christmas song(from a Jewish composer), a wish for everyone at this time of year – “May your days be merry and bright.”

  7. Thank you for sharing your traditions and the peace they bring to you, your family and friends.
    Much joy to you all.

  8. love and light and peace to you and all of us ! thanks for the light you constantly send into my world, Stephanie.

  9. As a Christian…..Jesus is the reason for the season.Merry Christmas and God bless you and yours.
    Enjoy your soup, and your friends.

  10. Peace and Joy be with you and your Loved ones! I hope you’re feeling better — and How on Earth did you get your Peppermint Bark into such nice little triangle shapes? Mine shatter every which way, no matter what I try.

  11. Blessed Solstice to you (and to all the blog). For me this is the holiday of the season and your description of it brought me to happy tears. Blessed Be!

  12. Solstice blessings to you and your family, including the extended blog family. Thank you for the light you bring to my life, today and throughout the year.

  13. Wishing you and yours a happy and peaceful Solstice … and thank you for the link to the recipe for peppermint bark!

  14. Warm wishes to you and yours, and “the Blog”, for light, peace, love, family, friends, health and happiness this season and throughout the year.
    Knitsiam aka Bonnie

  15. My husband just bought me your 2 audio books and downloaded them so I can listen to knitting even though what I need to finish is sewing! May God bless you and your family, and all who are touched by your talents each year. Thanks for your books and blog!

  16. Thank you for the light you bring to our little knitting world, and for the joy you find in everyday moments. We celebrate Christmas but with our Celtic ancestry recall that our family celebrated the Solstice with light before the birth of Christ. Thank you for the peppermint bark recipe! If you’d like an easy Irish Soda bread let me know!

  17. My seasonal gift is to donate blood. I do it throughout the year, but at this time of giving to others, it seems more special. I can help save someone’s life by relaxing in a chair for 20 minutes andgiving blood. If I needed blood I would want to get it from someone like me. I hope some of you other readers are motivated to think about blood donation too.
    Seasons greetings to all.

  18. Happy solstice. I’m hoping that light can reach all parts of our world this year. The past week has been a sad reminder of what darkness exists.

  19. i’ve read every single post of your blog ever written, and i must say, this is my favorite, hands down. thank you.

  20. 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, revelling.
    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.”
    ― Susan Cooper

  21. Happy Solstice to you and your family! Beautiful post.
    @Weavinfool you will probably not see this but I hope to give blood next week. I am waiting to find out if I am one year cancer free (a requirement for blood donation). It will be my first time donating. Thanks for the reminder of something that those of us lucky enough to be healthy can give to others! 🙂

  22. Happy Solstice to you and yours. As someone who has come to heavily question her religious roots, it gives me heart to remember that this holiday was celebrated long before it’s current meaning came to be. Thank you for your wonderful post.

  23. What a BEAUTIFUL sentiment! You have made this day special for me. Very inspiring and I will share your words with my family. We, too, are not Christian but try to live by the golden rule and love our Christmas tree! Every morning when I turn the lights on I thank my lucky stars for what I am blessed with. Thanks for sharing.

  24. The pagan celebration of the winter solstice was called saturnalia, a week-long orgy of debauchery and lawlessness, with rampant violence and rapes. It was anything but the lovely things which you ascribe to Christianity, and which are not Christian ideas but Jewish ones. Jesus was a Jew, and the early Christians were Jews. Look it up.

  25. Nevertheless, I wish you all those things and more. Thank you for your wonderful blog. I hope to continue reading it for a long time. Love, Eva

  26. Beautifully said. There can never be too many wishes for peace, love and happiness. A joyful Winter Solstice to you and yours as well.

  27. Joyous solstice to you and yours. May the return of the bring peace, health, and happiness to all. And yarn, of course.

  28. Peace and warmth to you as well. thanks for your words throughout the year. They often make me smile…

  29. Happy Solstice, Christmas, Hanukah and all other ways of celebrating light, love, and renewal!

  30. Many thanks, Stephanie, for this touching and thoughtful post. I’m very grateful for the wit, charm and sincerity you offer in your writing and, obviously, in your life. May you, your family and friends all be touched by the Joy and Blessings of the Season, may you enjoy continued prosperity in the coming year! And to The Blog also, happiness and prosperity, whatever personal ‘reason for the season’ you choose to celebrate!

  31. For whatever reason, the whole keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas and it’s a CHRISTMAS tree, not a holiday tree has made my head turn inside out and me want to beat people with their damn CHRISTMAS tree (raised Catholic no longer go with that flow). Not really sure why – I mean, call it what you want, I don’t care, but you should see that it’s been fully stolen from older, Christ didn’t even exist yet, religions and traditions. (Which reminds me of a quote, from my friend, that I adore – someone somewhere was talking theology with someone else and person A was all, to fully appreciate the Bible it makes sense to go back to the original Aramaic since translations can get skewed to which person B responded, if King James English was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me!)
    Which is all to say, I too love Solstice because shorter and shorter days are just depressing and longer and longer ones are not and I now like you even more for expressing it so eloquently.

  32. Steph,
    Thank you for reminding me the beauty of the season. I too am not Christian but hold very close the standard human qualities Jesus inspired in many.
    I have never heard of ice lanterns and wish I knew early enough to make some! Last night was the first evening cold enough to make them.
    Blessed Be! Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

  33. Great post and I really loved the Susan Cooper poem that Rams posted. The Blog almost feels like family after all these years ~ wishing all the best

  34. …and also to you and yours, Stephanie!
    Thank you for shining your light so generously in our world!?

  35. A blessed solstice to you and yours! Thank you for the constant inspiration you bring throughout the year.

  36. Thank you for not calling what you celebrate Christmas. Christmas is for the followers of Jesus. I’m glad you call it yule, solstice or whatever. Wish more people applied the distinction.

  37. A Happy Solstice to you and your family Steph! 🙂
    I myself celebrate a Merry Christmas, with all it’s intended meaning (especially love those hymns)… but I too look forward to longer sunnier warmer days (I live in California but hey, it gets cold here), and I certainly understand why it means so much to a Canadian surrounded by winter. 🙂
    Sounds like you have beautiful, soul-satisfying ways to celebrate the season, thanks for sharing.
    Much Peace, Love, and Joy to you and yours, and may you be just as blessed as those blessings you’ve bestowed upon others.

  38. If anyone finds a link to the “Because I’m a Girl-plan USA” please post it! There’s a group out there per the international website but I can’t access FB @ work.
    Seasons greetings to all. Good Health to Steph! I have learned so much reading your blog. Be gentle to each other.

  39. Happy Soltice, Stepanie & family! Glad to see that Hank still loves the ball winder. And thanks for reminding me that it’s Soltice. I spent it knitting a sock while having my bi-annual eye exam. Yeah, new glasses, to knit with… Good wishes to you and to all the knitters who read the blog, with special thanks to Rams for posting the lovely poem by one of my favorite authors.

  40. Happy Soltice Steph! You are so classy and eligant, I have really learned alot from you and I deeply thank you. Not just for the knitting, but for making me enjoy the holidays again.

  41. A Blessed Solstice to you and your family. May the return of the Light bring you Joy and Glad Tidings all the year through.

  42. Merry Winter Solstice, Stephanie. As those of us in the northern hemisphere celebrate the turn from darkness to light, I want to thank you for the light you bring to so many people every day.

  43. There is a reason I read your blog….always spot on with humor,teaching, and thoughtful words. Your post was beautiful and exactly what I needed to sweep away this dark week. All the best to you and your family.

  44. I look forward to your Solstice post every solar cycle. I love being reminded we’re not the only house who recognizes our big pagan symbol for what it is instead of trying to force it a Jesus thing. Blessed be and Merry Solstice! You’re such a witch, and I say that with love and inclusiveness as a fellow pagan, and daughter of another.

  45. My family celebrates Christmas, but I kind of make things up as I go. I love reading and learning how others celebrate the holiday season. 🙂
    Your blog is so beautiful; this is what I needed to remind me what life is about, especially during the stress leading up to Christmas.
    Thank you. 🙂 Merry Christmas and Blessed Yule to you and yours.

  46. maybe THIS year I’ll get the peppermint bark done – I still have the ingredients in the cupboard. They smirk at me regularly.
    As one living in a state along the Canadian border, I also rejoice at the promise of longer days and shorter nights.

  47. I love the slipping treats in people’s pockets and them pretending to be unsuspecting!

  48. OOPS. I meant “may the return of the light bring peace, health, and happiness.” Sometimes my brain gets ahead of my finges.

  49. Would you mind sharing the soup recipe? Sounds lovely plus my son’s girlfriend is vegetarian. I’m sure she would like options other than ravioli (and the vegetables we have a sides already) when she comes to visit!

  50. Thank you for your posts. Have a lovely celebration and remember that tomorrow there will be more light–to knit by, of course. Now I’m going to check out the peppermint bark recipe. Thank you.

  51. What a great post !!! Really touching. Happy Winter Solstice to you & Merry Christmas. Also, the bark looks awesome may have to make it !

  52. My husband lovingly calls it “Pagan-mas” since I’m not Christian and tend to do things different than the way he grew up during this time of year.
    I hope you have lovely celebrations.
    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself on the blog.

  53. Blessed Solstice to you and yours. May the next turn of the Wheel bring you peace and prosperity.

  54. So beautifully said. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I’ll be thinking of you this candle-lit night. Blessings to you and your family.

  55. Tonight, when I light our Solstice candles I will be thinking of you,Stephanie. Peace, love and light to you and all those you hold dear.

  56. Steph…beautiful words after a sad, heavy hearted week in CT. And Ram, I love that poem. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  57. As much as I always enjoy your words, I also want to give a shout-out to your photography. These pictures are beautiful. Must. Stop. Staring. At. Peppermint. Bark. 🙂 Peace & joy!

  58. You have such an amazing spirit. Thank you for continuing to share it. Blessings and peace, comfort and joy to you and yours!

  59. Happy Solstice! Thank you for this beautiful post, I am deeply moved. I’m going to go light a candle now, and spread The Light. Much love to you and your family, and may your health continue to improve.

  60. Speaking as a Christian, I wish more of my faith were more like you and your family. :o) Have a blessed Solstice! (And we’re enjoying the pagan symbol of the season in our living room, too. ;o)

  61. As someone else who has been looking forward to celebrating the solstice and the return of the light, I wish you bright blessings for the coming year.

  62. You are more Christian than many Christians. You have brought joy and laughter into my life. Be blessed.

  63. I’ve stayed up especially to send you my first comment at the year’s midnight ( I never can understand why John Donne thought it was 13th December). New to the blog and having a knitting rebirth since I realised I was in fact a beginner knitter despite having been knitting for over 40 years because I just hadn’t kept abreast of all the things I should know. I’m catching up on your archives and now in mid 2007 hoping that Joe will soon find new opportunities. Loving it all so peace and love to you.

  64. Whoops, it was 00:00 on my computer when I started and I am in fact in England where it is now 6 minutes into 22nd December.

  65. Such a beautiful post, thank you and Happy Solstice! I hope you enjoy the rest of the season as much as it sounds you and family have enjoyed today.

  66. As a fellow non-Christian, it’s so nice to hear from others out there who find the Solstice to be a special day. I get heckled for celebrating “Christmas” from my Christian relatives, and it’s always nice to find a little solidarity from others. May your 12 days be filled with love and laughter and warmth and happiness.

  67. Gledileg Jul from the shores of New Iceland. I love the Winter Solstice and though I am nominally Christian, I appreciate the symbolism associated with this time of year because as a person of English, Swedish, Irish and Welsh descent, I am primarily a woman of the North. I love the returning daylight from this point on, and look back and give thanks for the year past.
    And for Pagans, misunderstood all the time by Christians and others, this was Yule, (not Saturnalia which was a Roman festival). We still speak of Yule and for some it is a very real and present celebration of a religion that predates Christianity by thousands of years.
    Light, love and peace – whatever you are celebrating.

  68. God Jul och Gott Nytt År. A blessed solstice to you and your family. Thank you for the past year of joy in the reading your wonderful blog.

  69. Reading your blog has been a real inspiration to me. Thanks for all you do! Blessed Yule to you and all the blog. Peace, joy, and love attend you all in this new year.

  70. Peace and blessings be to you, dear Harlot, and all your loved ones. Look up at the stars and know they shine upon us all.

  71. I’m not surprised that you have read and learned from Molly Wizenberg, just like I have read and learned from the both of you! Thank you for sharing your life and connecting us all throughout the year and especially for your delight in every day, every person you meet — mostly that you keep your eye on the essential things that ground your life and ours. A joyous season to you and your dear ones!

  72. Thanks for the lovely photos and blog post today.
    The shortest day is hard to take – bring on the light!
    I went out for spicy southern indian vegetarian food today as an antidote to cold and dark.
    Best wishes for 2013!

  73. My once-per-year comment, Steph, made with elbows sharpened to get through the crowd here, lol.
    Happy Welcoming of the Light to you and yours!
    My mother, raised Ukranian orthodox, always referred to Twelfth Night as Little Christmas. May it be Large in T.O. for all of you.

  74. Thank you for all your wonderful posts throughout the year. I look forward to them and each of them make my day brighter. Happy Solstice!
    I loved the Susan Cooper poem!

  75. Happy Solstice! I’m the only one in my family celebrating the return of the light this year, but I’m glad to see that others are doing the same.

  76. While we were lucky enough to have two solstice parties to attend tonight, full of the peace and joy and light in the darkness that you spoke of so movingly in your wonderful post, our daughter was holding a Zombie Apocalypse Party at the house. On the whole, a successful evening for celebrations of all sorts.

  77. And so God sent Jesus to be LIGHT in a dark, dark world and we rejoice for HE is our Redeemer and Savior! Merry Christmas!

  78. A very happy and blessed Yule to you and yours! I’m an atheist, strictly speaking, but have always found Yule to be a beautiful celebration.

  79. Happy Solstice to you too. Even though I consider myself Christian in a really broad sense I too have always loved the Solstice. I’ve always looked forward to the day when I know that the days are going to get longer instead of shorter. I just love this time of year with all the different holidays clustered so closely together and celebrated by so many different religions and cultures. I think they are all wonderful and special. The world always needs more light,love, kindness and compassion. I try to pay attention to those values all year long but it always seems just a little easier this time of year. God Bless and Blessed Be to you and your family!

  80. Thank you for your wonderful posts throughout the year. I find you to be inspiring and helpful by measure. Hope you had a marvelous celebration of the solstice and blessings to you and your family throughout the coming year.

  81. Happy 12 days. The return of the light is always a time of joy. Thank you for sharing this wonderful spirit.

  82. a bit late – Happy Winter Solstice to you too. As others have said, you said what you said so eloquently and completely in line with me. I do believe I am going to make this a goal for 2013, to host a Winter Solstice party next year. And to slip some peppermint bark into unsuspecting pockets!! Love, peace, joy, light, wellness, all the best to you and yours and thank you for what you do.

  83. Happy Solstice! I’ve noticed them before in previous posts – where did you get your lights in the background?? They’re beautiful. Thanks!

  84. Wishing you a beautiful season and remembering that there are many different holidays celebrated at this time of year. As a Christian who respects that God speaks many languages, I wish you many blessings. You bless your readers in so many ways and we thank you. Happy holidays to all!

  85. Why celebrate Christmas, if Christ is not in the picture? Would this even be a holiday if not for Christ?

  86. A whole lot of people I know who make a big deal about “Jesus is the reason for the season” don’t do nearly as good a job as you’ve done about not just saying what’s important, but living that out. I wish you and all your family all the blessings of Yule.

  87. Absolutely lovely. You have just single-handedly removed all my agnostic-leaning reasons to be slightly uncomfortable with the “Christmas season,” which I’ve always loved anyway, both as a Christian and as a doubter. Thank you!

  88. I’m sure the pagans didn’t cut down trees and bring them inside the house. They brought boughs into the house, sparing the living tree. They reverenced all life. Killing a tree is a Victorian Christmas custom when people saw themselves as separate from nature and killed and destroyed the living world as they pleased.
    Happy Holidays and good fortune in the new year!

  89. Yesterday was Solstice. Today, in rainy Portland, Oregon, the sun is shining!
    Not saying it will last; just, isn’t that cool?

  90. This post just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. If you had a “love” button like on Rav, I would smoosh it x1000.
    Enjoy your time with your friends and family.

  91. Wishing all the light and love the whole world has to offer to you and yours, and thank you for creating that light and love everywhere you go–you do, and our world among your readership is better for it. Thank you.

  92. Your soup sounds delicious — and everything tastes better when its shared with friends and family. Any chance you could share the recipe?

  93. Love and Peace to you and yours at the real turn of the year. May those blessings continue into the world.

  94. Good Solstice – more light will start creeping in just when it should. During this dark time of year I appreciate your edgy compassion and quirky normalcy. Thank you times a million stars. Love, Lynn

  95. You can kid yourself about “The Solstice” giving you blessings. “It” can’t. Only God can. Merry Christmas in the truest sense of the meaning.

  96. Peace and light to you. Thank you so much for sharing all your stories and plights throughout the year. It made me laugh when I was sad and made me smile more when I was already happy. You are a dear. Also, loved the Susan Cooper poem and love all her books. Love, Debbie PS as Lynn said Thank you times a million stars. What would we all do without you?

  97. Ummm, I think it’s still a Christian symbol….pagans would never have killed the tree- just decorated it in place.

  98. Jesus is more than compassion , light and love. He is sacrificial love for each of us in a broken world. It’s not about religion. It’s about faith. And, because of my faith, I know I will spend eternity in Jesus. That is true peace.

  99. one of the few folks who would dare to say that I do believe in Christ and do understand why Christ is the reason for the season…I say..Joy To The World…Lord Is Come!
    As I think of all the hurt in the world..especially in a town not so far from Newtown CT, I say..Christ knows. Because he was hunted by evil..even as a babe. I say..his mother Mary knows what all of Newtoen Ct feels because she felt it too..when her child was taken from her in the worst possible way imaginable. He was innocent too…
    But because he this rotton world of ours to tell us all that He loves us…that is the reason for Christ..mas! Yes..heaven itself DOES love us and the God of heaven wants us to love other as he loved and sacrificed his son for us.
    So much for why Christ…mas exists at all.
    Merry Christ..mas to all..and a happy 2013 to all.
    Barb R.
    Shelton CT

  100. Happy Solstice! I’m fortunate to live in an area where the Winter Solstice is celebrated by Pagans and non-Pagans alike with a number of events. I haven’t managed to stay up all night in years, but I got up early enough to sing to the rising sun. May the lengthening days bring good things to you and yours.

  101. Truth to tell I celebrate the solstice bruise it happens to be my birthday. I too am a woman of the north so the slow lengthening of the days is important. My ancestors came from Ireland and Norway. I am a Christian so the birth of Jesus is the center of it all. But I have always understood that for northern people the light of the sun growing longer and the birth of the one called the light of the world fit perfectly together. In our hearts I think we get it. Love and blessings. God Jul.

  102. Great post.
    My ancestors were from one of the last countries to become Christian in the 18th century. The old beliefs are still pretty strong (paganism is on the rise again there) so the solstice always has a special spot for me.

  103. I do not understand why you would celebrate with symbols that are related to Christmas.. The tree may not have been an original symbol of Christmas but we realize as Christians that God gave the tree it’s beginning and His Son died on the wood of the cross.
    Merry Christmas. Works without faith are empty.

  104. Someone said-At some point
    -I was stunned when I read it,that Jesus didnt even exist yet.Huh?
    He always existed.He was always with the Father,
    Im sure you have heard of the trinity.

  105. I’m sorry. I don’t get it. Why are you busily preparing for Christmas if you’re not Christian?
    Many people who label themselves Christian are the holly-lily types and it’s not for me to pass judgement on them. But how and why do you celebrate Christmas without the baby in the manger, the Savior of the World?

  106. Thank you so much for sharing your holiday traditions. What a beautiful sight, to see the tree, homemade cookies & decorations. I could not resist trying out the peppermint bark recipe tonight. Happy Solstice to you and yours, and may your New Year be filled with Light & Peace.

  107. Wanda, Mary and wendy said what I have been thinking for days…now…thank you
    Merry Christmas Steph.Jesus is the reason for the season…..

  108. we celebrate solstice. I managed this year to take the day off work for it. I’m glad you do too. it made my heart leap just a little, like when I meet someone else who loves yarn the way I do….oh wait…you do that too 🙂 May the light always return to your home after the longest night. blessings to you and your family.

  109. Thank you, Presbytera, for the timely reminder. One of the qualities I enjoy most about Steph is her refusal to judge others. Let us all learn from her.
    Stephanie, thank you for the joy, compassion and laughter you bring to us all through your blog. I wish you joy in the returning of the light.

  110. Happy Solstice, Steph. Thanks for the beautiful post, I’m going to be pointing people to it who ask why we, as pagans, “celebrate” Christmas (also the Solstice, 12th Night, Greek Christmas, Hanukkah, and maybe Kwanzaa this year). Nicely said.

  111. Thank you, Presbytera, I’ve been thinking along those lines for the last 20 minutes!
    Stephanie, thank you for another year of hilarity, wisdom, and knitting. Peace, joy, and light to all this season.

  112. If you aren’t Christian, what are you?
    Posted by: Jennifer at December 21, 2012 9:41 PM
    Jennifer: Surely you don’t really mean to ask this question. Merry Christmas!

  113. Refhead: I’m sure Jennifer meant it in a spirit of kindly curiousity: “If not Christianity, to what belief do you subscribe?”, not, “If you’re not a Christian, you are nothing!” I’m certain that no one would be that rude to Stephanie in her own “living room.” True, that remark could be misconstrued (a hazard of typing instead of talking–you don’t hear tones of voice) but let us think the best of everyone.

  114. Ouch. That came across as a great, big jab at Christianity to me. I figured at the end you would at least throw in, “For all my Christian and Jewish followers, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.” Oh, well………it’s your blog.

  115. I am a Christian, and I have to say, I’m really disappointed at many of the comments from other Christians on this post.
    I think it’s extremely important to share your faith with others, not to be ashamed of your belief in Christ and His redemptive work, and celebrate Christmas with a meaningful focus on Christ and His glory (rather than simply as a consumer-driven crazy-time which many Christians wholeheartedly do).
    That said, STOP using Christ as a reason to insult and debase others! I will happily share my faith with anyone who asks, defend it when non-Christian blatantly attack me for it, but I think it’s really un-Christ-like to jump down someone’s throat, Bible-thumping arm at the ready, trample on their holiday (in this case, Solstice) and act like they’re stupid.
    Share Christ and His promises with your FRIENDS, whom you KNOW (because you have taken the time to build a relationship with them), out of love, compassion, gentleness, and respect. Answer questions when you are asked, explain why you celebrate the way that you do, but for for pity’s sake, let people SEE and ASK.

  116. A day later, I’ve remembered a reason why someone would celebrate Christmas without being Christian. A friend of mine is Buddhist, her husband is Jewish. The year she bought an eight-inch high decoration – a tree on a little stand containing ornaments for it – all of us raised our eyebrows, but only one asked the question – why did you buy that? My friend’s answer was great. She celebrates Christmas because it is a Federal Holiday, it’s on all the calendars. I’m not sure if this logic holds true in Canada but in an America constantly debating the separation of church and state, it struck a chord with me.

  117. Maybe it’s because I’m Irish. We get to lay proud claim not only to St. Patrick, but also to centuries of paganism. I have no problem at all pairing my delight in the return of the light with my attendance at Midnight Mass.

  118. Happy Solstice. We are two days out now and I love this marker, in the big looong sweep of time, as we roll around the sun. Much light and love to your family.

  119. ** A Happy Holiday FYI = Hi Steph ! i just read where you made mention of 12th-Night in your post & it moves me to remind all holiday revellers that there is even more time for our fun & frolics than Dec.31st ! Yes we actually have until January 6th. Why ? Because this is the date that is the 12th day of Christmas, as in the song we sing as “…& on the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…” — that is the day recognized as the date when The Three Wise Men arrived to see baby Jesus & deliver their gifts to him. On this night at Midnight we light a candle & ask a wish in the name of the 3 Wise men to be granted unto us in this new year. Yes thats 6 more days of Seasonal celebration & Holiday fun !!…and a whole lotsa less STRESS = more Fun !! ~ Enjoy !! 🙂

  120. I’ve been reading through these posts and was somewhat surprised by a few of them. My husband is Lutheran, I am Jewish. Tonight, we will be going to a midnight service at the Benedictine Grange which is held in a pre civil war barn. We are going because we want to feel a sense of peace after the last week. We want to know that light will shine through the darkness and to lift some of the sad weight we all feel after Newtown, but which I think is even more so for those of us in the immediate area. We are going because its a spiritual celebration. My husband is a faithful believing Christian. I am not. It makes no difference whatsoever. What we do believe in is being good to others and ourselves. We believe in peace and light and living each day the best we can. We believe in celebrating our families and friends. To you Steph, we wish you joyous peace and light.

  121. Have lovely holidays one and all! In the spirit of the season, could you share the recipe for the soup? It sounds wonderful!

  122. Presbytera, Bethany and Genia…wow, thank you. Mannerly gentleness and wisdom. Well done, I’m impressed all to tiny pieces. VERY well done, and blessings be upon you ladies.

  123. A wish for light, love, peace and joy to you all! May your celebrations, be they Pagan, Jewish, Christian, or notreallysurewhatibelieve, be times of true celebration!
    @Bethany Nash – as a fellow Christian may I say Amen Sister!

  124. Even though I read your blog all the time, I don’t comment very often – but I wanted to wish you and your family a very happy and peaceful holiday. Merry Christmas 🙂

  125. I wish you, and yours, a peaceful holiday season. I enjoy your blog and view of the world.

  126. Thank you for this post… It was a welcome gift this season. Happiest of holidays to you and Joe and all the rest of your family!

  127. Веселі Свята! Happy Solstice to you n your family Wish you a Happy Knitterly New Year. You are very fortunate to have a big family, I was all alone on Christmas day at least it was a bit happy I got my Namaste bag on Monday Yippee! I enjoy your FAB blog so fun. I am still knitting Christmas pressies for my best friend n her family, Chezzle and I are No1 &No2
    Knitting Grannies to our little boy F P. Love n Peace to you all.
    God Jul!

  128. Happy Solstice — and happy 2nd day of Christmas (AKA Boxing Day). We celebrate it ALL at this time of the year, needing as much light and cheer as we can bring into our days. We also have started to have a feast on the Twelfth Night every year — pulling the fun as far into January as we can manage.
    So, cheers to you and yours, Yarn Harlot. Thank you for making my knitting life ever so much enjoyable and fun — and thank you for the great gift ideas that make my husband’s life much easier at this time of the year.

  129. Wow, Steph, who’d have thought the comments would turn into a debate? I have often said that I don’t care what religion my neighbors practice, if any, as long as they behave as though they believe there is divine retribution at the end.
    I am Jewish, my husband is Catholic. At this time of year I celebrate with his family and in fact after his mother passed away, I became the one responsible for her holiday bread. (His sister doesn’t like it and doesn’t get it right.)
    Chanukah, which has nothing to do with Christmas, was very early this year, and is long over, and will fall at Thanksgiving (US) next year. I love when they fall separately because you learn that those that don’t wish you a happy Chanukah until Christmas-time don’t get it. We celebrated early in December with 8 days of candles, a very few presents (we never compete with Christmas, it isn’t the point) and fried potato latkes for friends – yum!
    Wishing you light…

  130. I love this time of year. The best part being, that I get to celebrate all kinds of things with my friends,, old, young, short, tall, fat, skinny,the rainbow is amazing, as is the sharing of each others traditions.
    So, celebrate the season as you wish, and I will wish you well.
    Carolyn ( who should be knitting but is writing this instead)

  131. I love how many non Christians are on here! I myself am Pagan and deeply appreciated this post. I was at my in laws for what seems like forever without the Internet and am just now getting to play catch up. Though it sounds like you had a wonderful solstice

  132. I wanted to thank you for having the courage to share your Yule celebration with the world. You share your knitting, your frustrations and triumphs with us so often, but belief and tradition can be so fraught with emotion, and the internet is full of unpleasantness at times. I imagine you knew that you were exposing yourself to the possibility of backlash by posting this. You probably did get some backlash privately, though it brings peace to my heart to see how little negativity was posted here in the comments. The more those of us from a non-Judeo-Christian background share our beliefs, our hearts and our traditions with the world, the better it will be for those not on the front lines (i.e. in the public eye.) So once again, thank you for being brave, and for working to bring a little more light into the world on this Solstice.

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