This Week: Dec. 19 - 25

Published: December 19, 2011

CONGRATULATIONS on completing another semester! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Important Dates:

Winter Break December 18 – January 18
Spring Orientation and Registration January 17
First Day of Spring Classes January 18

The Spring 2012 Academic Calendar: 2011-2012 Academic Calendar

*Note: Students who have not already registered for spring courses will need to register beginning on the first day of classes using the drop/add process.

 

Reflection for the Last Week in Advent

This is the last week in Advent 2011, but before Christmas sunrise on Sunday, December 25, we in the Northern Hemisphere will encounter what is known as “the longest night.” Wednesday, December 21, is the winter solstice, also called midwinter or the first day of winter.  Winter solstice is observed through festivals and celebrations in many cultures and religions. Christian communities sometimes mark the longest night, which falls near the end of Advent each year, with a special worship service that acknowledges through prayer, hymns, and readings the sadness and difficulty many people face during the holidays.  A number of poems and carols emphasize the “bleak midwinter” by weaving together images of darkness and light.  Even as School of Divinity students, faculty, and staff celebrate the conclusion of another semester of study and learning, we can remember those for whom winter is especially cold and difficult. We can also rejoice that in the Gospel story a Bethlehem star shines with hope in the night to guide our journeys through the longest night to the dawn of the next new day when the sun will shine a bit longer.

 

A Prayer for Advent

Written by Michelle Voss Roberts, Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture

God Incarnate, we sing the Advent hope that you will “be born in us today.” The earth groans with labor pains: we long for salvation in the midst of oppression, economic insecurity, and ecological calamity. Our personal suffering distracts us from the simple fact of your presence. Give us the wisdom of Blessed Angela of Foligno, who exclaimed, “This world is pregnant with God!” Let us be the bearers and midwives of your coming. Amen.

 

A Poem

“The Shortest Day,” by Susan Cooper

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!

 

Merry Christmas,

  Jill Crainshaw
  Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

 

 

 

Picture Source: Ken Bennett, University Photographer, WFU (top); flickr.com (bottom)