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Good evening, Brothers and Sisters!

"Welcome to Brothers and Sisters, the weekly meetup for prayer* and community at Daily Kos.  We put an asterisk on pray* to acknowledge that not everyone uses conventional religious language, but may want to share joys and concerns, or simply take solace in a meditative atmosphere. Anyone who comes in the spirit of mutual respect, warmth and healing is welcome."
Tonight we celebrate the return of the light. Please follow be below the "fleur de Kos".

Since time immemorial people have celebrated the winter solstice and the return of the light. Here is a view of the Neolithic monument in Newgrange, Ireland. On midwinter's day, the sunlight enters the light box and shines down the stone-lined passage.

Today many of our modern religious traditions also celebrate the light. Hanukkah is also know as the Festival of Lights. African-Americans light kinara candles as part of the Kwanzaa celebration. The Roman Saturnalia and the neo-pagan Yule also take place at this time of year. Christmas will take place in two days. Even though it is not clear when Jesus was born, Christmas is celebrated on the date of the solstice in the Julian calendar, corresponding to the day of the Unconquered Sun. The Western Christian Church established December 25th as the date of Christmas in the 4th century. Some have suggested that the choice of date may have help in the conversion of pagans.

The Biblical Christmas story is filled with images of light:

Luke 2:8-11
King James Version (KJV)
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

The light has also had an important symbolic role for many authors. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
Albert Schweitzer said that:
At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
A Chinese proverb says that it is:
Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
In the midst of the holiday season, we can light a candle against the darkness. Tonight I light a candle for the children and staff of the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut. I light a candle for my old friends R and P who lost their father last week. I light a candle for all the men and women who have lost their lives in Afghanistan this year. I pray for peace in the New Year.

Are you lighting a candle for anyone tonight?

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