Probably my favorite cultural event of the year is the Christmas Revels, which I go see with one of my best friends from college every December. The performance of traditional music and pagent ends with this poem by Susan Cooper, which I adore. It’s called “The Shortest Day”:
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.
Thanks for another year, folks. I’ll see you in 2011, and best wishes for a joyous start to it this weekend.