Here’s the annual posting of my Christmas Eve poem. I won’t be posting again until Monday, Dec. 30. I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Christmas and holiday season!
With all the frantic activity associated with Christmas in the U.S., we Americans tend to overlook all other significant dates and holidays in December. Yet the winter solstice is the reason we celebrate Christmas in this month. Both the history and nature of the winter solstice makes for a rich vein of writing inspiration.
Many ancient cultures, according to The Christmas Encyclopedia by William D. Crump, figured out which day in the northern hemisphere had the shortest amount of daylight, all without the help of computers.
Babylonians, Syrians, Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and pre-Christian Celtic and Germanic tribes celebrated this time of year. Egyptians commemorated the birth of Ra, the sun god. Babylonians and Syrians saw the solstice as a symbol of returning fertility to the land. During the Celtic and Germanic holiday of Yule, noisy celebrations warded off evil spirits that roamed in the darkness.
In a brilliant move of counter-programming, the Catholic Church decided to celebrate Jesus’ birth in December and compete against pagan holidays. We still use some of the pagan traditions and have given them new meanings based on Christianity, like lighting candles and decorating with evergreens.
The juxtaposition of the most hours of darkness and the happiest holiday on the Christian calendar makes a great symbol for the journey of a character. As December grows darker, the character experiences more and more adversity, hitting bottom on the day of the solstice. Then on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, hope is restored.
For speculative fiction, a villain reaches her most powerful state during the winter solstice. The hero, whose powers are at their weakest, must come up with a way to stop the villain from taking advantage of the solstice.
How can you use the winter solstice as writing inspiration?
My second short story will published this November in Christmas fiction: off the beaten path: a Christmas Anthology of Inspirational Stories. “A Rose from the Ashes” was the best writing experience of my life. I wrote this short story during December of 2018 and the only thing better than sharing Christmas with my family was sharing it with them and writing a Christmas mystery during the Christmas season. I’m so excited for you all to meet Rae Riley.
Here’s the blurb for “A Rose from the Ashes”:
“Nineteen-year-old Rae Riley knows she needs to fulfill her late mother’s dying wish. But she needs even more to find her father. And the man who attacked her mother on Christmas Eve twenty years before and left her to burn in an abandoned building. And if her father and the attacker are one and the same.”
Five other Christian fiction authors have contributed stories to the anthology which include steampunk with a touch of romance, fantasy with romance, Biblical fiction, 1980’s family drama ,and contemporary suspense.
I love reading short story collections because you can sample so many authors in a short period of time. I’ll keep you updated as the launch date nears. I can’t wait!