This is the story of the very first song; it is a true story,
as all stories are, if you believe in them. This story begins
a long, long time ago, when the Earth and Sun gave birth to
the first beings - the very first plants, and animals, and people.
It was springtime, and the Sun shone warm and bright from his
high perch above, and Earth, proud mother that she was, held
and fed her newborns and relished them with tenderness and love.
It was a time of joy, it was a time of great delight.
The Moon waxed and waned time and again in the night sky, and
the children of the Earth grew well and strong through summertime.
They played and danced, and Earth and Sun watched over them.
Then autumn came, and the Earth began to sleep
much longer every day. She grew tired and pale, she could no longer
feed her children, and had no strength to grow new life. High
above, the Sun grew distant, and took longer to return each morn.
The nights grew longer, and cold winds blew where none had blown
And then, one day, Earth went to sleep and never did wake up.
She wrapped herself in a blanket of snow, and rested her tired
head on pillows of dried leaves, and she did not wake up, Her
children could do nothing to rouse her from her slumber. They
prodded her, they called to her, but she would not awaken. In
the sky, the Sun was nowhere to be seen, and the children of
the Earth felt fear, and also felt despair. This was the longest
night that they had ever known.
"What shall become of us?", they
pondered. "Earth Mother sleeps, and Father Sun is oh so far away
that we can barely see him in the sky. He is much too far to hear
our call. What shall we do?"
So they brought their questions and their fears to the Moon,
the sister of the Sun, for they knew not where else to turn.
She closed her eyes, and took a slow, deep breath, and looked
within herself, and awoke thoughts that had never been awakened
She opened her soft eyes, then
said, "When hope is lost, the best way to get it back is with
a song. Climb you the tallest trees, the biggest hills, the highest
mountains, and yule a song to reach the Sun". (Now, yule is a
word from one of the most ancient tongues. It is related to words
like yell or yodel, and it means to call out in a song).
But the first beings had never heard a song, so once again
they sought the Moon's advice. "How shall we yule?", they asked.
"How shall we sing a song?"
"Take the best of what you have",
she said, "the best of what you are. Take what you love, take
what you cherish most. Take your joys, your dreams, your fondest
hopes, and weave them all together in a sound."
And so they did. The climbed atop the tallest trees, the mountains
and the hills. They stood on all the places that would bring
them closest to the Sun. They shut their eyes, and thought and
felt the best of thoughts and feelings, and dreamt the finest
dreams. And, as they did, their voices rang and made a bridge
of song across the sky, to reach the distant Sun.
He heard, and turned, and smiled,
and wrapped himself in all his light and warmth, and sped to where
the yuling voices called. As he drew near, the sleeping Earth
did stir, and dreamed a dream of spring. The wheel of life made
its first round, and hope and joy prevailed. And ever since, that
time of year has been called Yule, in honor of the song.
But the first song did not end. It had such power, such eldritch
allure, that the first beings kept singing it throughout. And
then the second beings bom of the Earth took up the song, as
did the third. And so it ever since has gone, through seasons
and through years, until this very day.
At times the song is very soft,
and scarcely can be heard above the din and clatter of our lives.
But when Yule comes, it rises and it swells in memory of that
night when the Sun heard, and light and life were spared.
And so do we, upon this longest night, gather with those we
love and who love us, and stand upon the body of slumbering
Earth, and light the log with last year's coal, and lift our
voices soaring to the Sun, and join the song that first was
sung so very long ago.
We sing our thanks to those who went before, and sing our fondest
wish to those who come behind. We bask in the returning light
of reawakened hope, and welcome Yule.