Today is winter solstice in southern hemisphere, the shortest day of the year, the day I look forward to every year, for from now until summer equinox, the days are going to get longer and the nights will be shorter.
I learned about solstice and equinox in the 7/8 standard. Living in Kerala at that time, it was beyond my imagination that there would be a day I would live outside India and be able to see the four seasons, the solstice and the equinox. My life then was the same as the life of the proverbial frog in the well. I could see the blue sky and I knew there is a lot more outside, beyond the walls of my home, my village and my country. But it wasn’t even possible to imagine that I would be able to travel and see the world. Every equinox/solstice, I take a deep breath and tell myself, I have come this far, I shouldn’t worry about the journey ahead. And I am thankful for all that I have.
Winter Solstice is also the time to remember Jephthah’s daughter. The story is in the bible. Judges 11. He lived in Gilead and was from the tribe of Manasseh. He took a vow that if he could defeat the Ammonites, he would sacrifice the first thing ( human/animal) that walks out of his home to greet him when he returns home after winning the war with the Ammonites. It was his daughter who came out of his home to greet him. Jephthah insisted on sacrificing his daughter, so he could keep his vow. He set her own fire on a winter solstice. This story always made me upset because earlier, the angel of God spared the life of Isaac. Why wasn’t Jephthah’s daughter’s life not spared? ( If you read the Jewish law, you would learn that the vow Jephthah took was illegal and there were other options available to him that he could have used to break his vow legally and spare his daughter’s life)
Today is also the last day of school for this term. Kids have school holidays for two weeks. I look forward to not having to get up very early in the morning.