Make a Yule Log
Whether it be a huge bonfire with family and friends or a small candle for yourself, fire was always used to symbolize the light of God in the darkness of the world. Ancient peoples always used fire in the midst of the cold, dark winter as symbolic reminder of the coming/returning Sun/Son. Yet, God has never left us, not only will He return but is with us always.
“… Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” Matt 28:20
Eventually this fire took the form of a Yule log. This was just a log that was decorated for the sole purpose of being burned in the Yule Fire making it a special fire. Usually made of evergreen, like pine (we use the trunk of the Christmas Tree from the previous year) making the fire symbolically everlasting. You can get a log and decorate it with pine boughs, paper ribbon, pine cones, sparklers – whatever and burn it in your fireplace or fire pit. Or if you have neither mount candles to it and burn the candles instead.
Make Cinnamon Ornaments
Cinnamon has long been associated with the entire Advent/Christmas season. It gives you that wonderful cozy feeling and is known for its healing abilities like the holiday itself. The other ingredient – apples, are especially significant this time of year as we wait for Christmas. If you cut an apple horizontally in half you will see that the seeds form a five pointed star. The symbol of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem, yet inside the apple it is still hidden. If you cut them into moon shapes they can be used as gifts at your solstice fire.
You will need:
1 cup applesauce
1 ¼ cups cinnamon
Mix together to form a dough. Roll it out to about a ¼ of an inch thick and cut it with cookie cutters. Using a skewer you can make a hole to put a string through later so that you can hang them. Once finished you can leave them out on a wire rack on the counter for a few days to dry out (turning them every so often so that they dry evenly). Or you can put them in a 200 degree oven for about an hour or two, or until rock hard. Even though they are made with edible ingredients THEY ARE NOT EDIBLE!
Chocolate cake is a dark, almost black, which is great with the symbolism of Winter Solstice/Yule the longest night of the year. Eating the cake, watching the darkness recede is a great visual and gastronomic delight showing the ephemeral-ness of darkness, in France they even shape it like a Yule Log. A recipe for chocolate cake is in the” Winter Solstice Recipes” post.
The night is far gone, and the day is near. Let’s therefore throw off the works of darkness, and let’s put on the armor of light. Romans 13:12
Prayer for the Solstice Fire
This one is elaborate so feel free to shorten. Or even better – make you your own!
Yule Log Ritual
Light the fire, not the Yule Log, from the candle that was lit from the Paschal candle at church, if possible.
As we light this fire we place ourselves in Your presence, O Lord
Put in the incense (frankincense and myrrh)
As this smoke rises to heaven, let our prayers rise to You, O Lord
Put the Yule Log in view but not in fire
Christ O Great Light, We know there is but One Light, both flesh and spirit uncreated yet born, true God in Man, true Life in death, Jesus Christ Our Lord. O Great Light, we honor you on this the longest night of the year, knowing that the Sun will rise tomorrow as a daily reminder of Your Light, Your Love and Your Glory shining down upon us and our days are eternal.
Put the Yule Log in the fire
Because of You, God our Father, we are Children of the Light. Because of You, God the Son, we no longer live in darkness. Because of You Holy Spirit, our Mother, the Light burns within us.
Women hold candles and Men light candles with sticks from the fire, saying:
We welcome the Light of the World into our hearts and our home.
Gather the children and say:
You are Children of the Light.
Light a sparkler and hand it to them.
Rejoice in the Light of the World.
Give out Moon shaped gifts, ornaments or cookies, etc.
Remember always as the Moon reflects the Sun, so you are to reflect the Light of the Son of God.
We rejoice in You, O Lord and this fire burns with our only prayer, that you open our hearts so that we can truly accept your Light.
In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Watch the Sunrise
One of the greatest things after the longest night of the year is to get up early and watch the sunrise, or you could be even more traditional and stay up all night at the bonfire. Sunrise is glorious and a great time to spend with God.
Peace be with you.