In the spirit of Las Posadas, our Head of Middle School, Margaret Mitchell, delivered a poignant speech to our middle school students. Read the speech below:
Today is the shortest day of the year. It is the Winter Solstice when the sun is the farthest it will get from Earth this year. The day when there is the least sunlight and the most darkness out of all other days in the year.
So, I want to talk about the darkness. I know – you’re thinking, “So cheery, Mrs. Mitchell. Thanks a lot.” But I think it’s important to talk about the dark – and the light.
Darkness is quite literally where you cannot see. If you find yourself in the dark in an unfamiliar place, you are lost and disoriented. You might bump into things or step on something. You will definitely go more slowly. You hope that you have a flashlight. You hope that you have a friend.
Darkness can also be an internal state, an emotional place. Pain. Loneliness. Grief. Depression. You don’t know where you are going or why something is happening. You may feel like there is no one there, no one who understands. You may even feel invisible. It’s like the darkness envelops you and makes it so you can’t see, and others can’t see you.
Darkness is not a fun place to be, but it is part of being human. Most people don’t choose to be in the dark, either physically or emotionally. But the reality is that all of us will find ourselves in darkness at some point. Maybe some of you have felt loneliness, fear, or sadness.
So, what happens in those dark times?
First, we get to know ourselves better. Walking through those times and places to get to know yourself takes courage. Just like walking in the dark, you will go slowly. You will probably bump into something (figuratively and literally). You might even be scared. And those are the places where you really get to know who you are and who you want to be.
Second, you also learn who your true friends are who you can count on in your hardest times. Who is an unexpected companion on the journey? Sometimes, you find someone who has been where you are, who is dealing with the same thing you are. You find a connection in the darkness. And that connection is the light.
Third, you learn that even in the darkest of times, there can be – there is – good. It may not always be good you wanted, and it may take a while to see it, but it is good.
One of my favorite things about this time of year is the lights on houses and on trees. As the sun sets earlier and earlier, those lights are cheerful and hopeful.
And that is what this season is all about. Light and love break through the darkness through singing, eating good food together, and celebrating family or religious traditions through kind words and hugs.
In the darkness, we look for the light. On this the shortest day of the year, the time of the most darkness, we have been here together. Today, may you find light, and may you be the light in the darkness for someone else.