long-night moon

December 21, 2018. Winter solstice. The longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. This last moon phase of the year is sometimes called Long Nights Moon or Cold Moon. The gift of this year’s Long Nights Moon? A waxing full moon and a meteor shower will light up the skies tonight and over the next few nights.

For many people, this year has been a year of transitions and mournings. As rainclouds begin to dispel (finally) in my neighborhood, I celebrate the celestial gifts of light on this longest night. I also celebrate the promises of sacred light woven around the Christian season of Advent as we wait with hope even when nights are long and shadows are deep. O come, O come, Emmanuel.

long nights moon

i wonder
as I wander

if the owl that once in a blue moon sat
on the reformed church-eave next door
will weather a december damp eve
to wait with me and the tiny terrier for
the sleeping beauty of this solstice night
to lift her yellow-gold head up from
a wintry horizon and cast her spell
one more time upon a world
running away from the sun

i wonder
as i wander

if the waxing advent moon will peer
through disrobed arms of wintering trees
she who full and overflowing
pours out light like wildflower
honey over purple mountaintops
and spills silver tears onto
too-new burial places

i wonder
as i wander

if the owl will call out
across midwinter cedars
then take flight with stardust

beneath a flooding long-night moon
as the tiny terrier
throws her head back
and howls and howls

Author: Jill Crainshaw

I am a professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity and an ordained PCUSA minister.

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