On this, the solstice, the precise angle of the morning sun invades the darkest corners of the house / Dec. 22, 2011
Winter solstice, midwinter, the longest night, the first day of winter.
The days now begin to lengthen and the nights shorten -- a victory of the sun over the darkness.
In some ancient cultures a fire was made in the hearth and the personal household gods were invited to join in the festivities. (Have you invited your household gods to a celebration?)
Some Eastern European cultures worshiped the winter mother goddess, Rozhanitsa. In colorful embroideries she was depicted as an antlered woman and offered sacrifices of honey, bread and cheese (how perfectly lovely and peaceful).
"Oh, the rising of the sun ... and the running of the deer ..." (lyrics from The Holly and the Ivy)