Solstice Prayer
21 December 2006

It is the shortest, darkest day of the year.
A blizzard has closed Denver. It's headed
straight at us in Minnesota. It will arrive tonight,
the longest night.

In ancient days at solstice, fear the sun might dim
forever moved pagans to kindle giant bonfires
to lure him back. Long nights of the dying year
they maintained them. Bonfires of belief sustained
them.

In Christian times, yule logs and colored lights
prolonged the practice. But Christian practice forgot
its origins. Solstice faded from mind, and the lights
and fires declined.

Now, four days before the Savior's birth, my neighborhood
is black as we await the storm. A shabby wreath hangs
on my porch, but darkness benights it. No candle lights it.

What sun will serve our turn? Will the Son of Man
bring a new dawn in 2007? I pray He may, but even
my prayer is dark. What zealous watchman wakes
tonight or lights the signal fires for us? O, for the
bonfire builders' day! Bring us that fire again, I pray.