Winter is the darkest season of the year. The days grow shorter from summer until the winter solstice, December 21, when the great wheel of time turns toward the light and the days gradually grow longer again.
This year, many of us have felt like we've been dwelling in darkness, still coping with losses from the Covid pandemic. According to a recent New York Times editorial, Americans have been experiencing a sense of gloom, feeling pessimistic about the economy and our future, despite an impressive recovery and strong economic performance. 
Darkness fills the daily news with reports of wars, fires, floods, and other natural disasters. Yet all news is biased—and I say this from my own work on a newspaper. News reports focus on crime, calamities, and chaos—only part of what is going on, ignoring the light that fills our world. The news rarely reports on the courage of health care workers and first responders, the dedication of teachers, the inspiration of the arts, the beauty of nature, the daily kindness of others, and the vital light within us.
Yet even now, the light of new seasons is emerging. As French novelist Albert Camus wrote, "In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."  Signs of new life are appearing. As winter darkens the skies, the first green shoots of daffodil bulbs are appearing in my garden. By acknowledging the small signs of beauty in our world, we can look to the light. And this light will enable us to see more clearly, become more mindful, find inspiration, and discover new solutions to the challenges we face.
If you'd like to join me in a brief meditation,
Take a deep mindful breath, focusing on your heart and slowly breathe out.
Breathe in and breathe out one more time.
Once again, slowly breathe in and breathe out.
Now recall one recent vision of light you recall—the stars sparkling above you, the flickering candlelight, the colorful holiday lights in your neighborhood, or the light in a loved one's eyes.
Take a deep heartfelt breath in as you focus on the light.
Feel the light surround you as you slowly breathe out.
This winter, as many of us light candles to celebrate holiday feasts, let's look to the light within and around us. For by looking to the light, each of us can become a beacon of hope, lighting the way to new paths of peace and possibility for ourselves and our world.
 Wallace-Wells, D. (2023, December 10). It's No Surprise that America is Pessimistic. The New York Times, Opinion section, p. 9.
 See discussion of this quote on https://www.google.com/search?q=camus+winter+quote&oq=camus+wintrr&gs_lcrp=EgZjaHJvbWUqCQgBEAAYDRiABDIGCAAQRRg5MgkIARAAGA0YgAQyCAgCEAAYDRgeMgoIAxAAGAUYDRgeMgoIBBAAGAUYDRgeMgoIBRAAGAgYDRgeMgoIBhAAGAgYDRgeMgoIBxAAGAgYDRgeMgoICBAAGAgYDRgeMgoICRAAGAUYDRgeMgoIChAAGAgYDRgeMg0ICxAAGIYDGIAEGIoFMg0IDBAAGIYDGIAEGIoFMg0IDRAAGIYDGIAEGIoF0gEKMjMzNDRqMGoxOagCALACAA&client=ms-android-att-us-rvc3&sourceid=chrome-mobile&ie=UTF-8