The Darkest Night of the Year

As Jeff notes, the arrival of the winter solstice today means that this really is the darkest night of the year:

It is a fascinating juxtaposition that at this darkest time of the year, we are given the most hope. Christmas tells us that something big is coming, something is going to redeem us. Our time has finally come. No one knew what was going to happen, but everyone involved in Bethlehem from Joseph and Mary to the shepards to the wise men knew that something was about to happen. At the time when things seemed dark, when their very lives were ruled by a far away empire, there was a single light in a star that tells us all hope is not lost. I wonder if its a coincidence that all of this happens at the darkest time of the year?

Because of Jeff, I became a fan of Over The Rhine. Jeff talks a little about their Christmas album—named … wait for it … The Darkest Night of the Year—and it’s one that I love. I remember waiting last year to break it out only after Thanksgiving started, and that’s something I did again this year. My favorite song has to be “Amelia’s Last”:

Amelia’s Last

these are the (whose are the?)
these are the raw materials
you and me
these are the (whose are the?)
these are the angels’ inferiors
who
someone breathed this breath in us
“oh amelia, we’ve so far to go
oh amelia”

these are the (whose are the?)
these are the ordinary clothes
you and me
around extraordinary flesh and pulsing madness deep and close
who
someone breathed this breath in us
“oh amelia maybe we’re not that far
oh amelia is this who we really are
my amelia”

I definitely feel like raw materials and angels’ inferior, especially at this time of year, and especially again this year.

But … someone breathed this breath in us, and that is what gives us hope.