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This year’s expected holiday whirl seems more like a danse macabre. The world is on edge. We are jittery because it seems the middle ground has given way. There are too many guns and too many people willing to use them at the slightest provocation. 

Language is failing us. Hyperbole is too often the norm; fact-checking is passé, demeaning to those who stoop to it. Demagogues the world over fan the flames of fear.  Rage has become pretext for the inarticulate violence that “outrage” seems  too weak a word to describe.  The vagaries of the weather include two of the strongest storms on record occurring this year, an outsized el Niño and this springlike weather in December. Even those who deny climate change must feel a bit spooked.

We are slouching toward 2016.

The sun will soon stand still in the sky, appearing to take a second’s breath before beginning its trip southward. The apparent journey of the sun invites analogies. The sun itself could be a Greek chorus, commenting on our feeble labors, turning north or south as strophe and antistrophe. It could be the labor of Sisyphus, the sun pushing its light to the south or the north in a never-ending task, its respite only twice a year when it appears to stand, since “solstice” is the standing of the sun.

What a wonder it would be if, like the sun on Dec. 22, we would stand still for a moment and draw a breath. Could there be silence or might we hear the music of the spheres?

While there is still air, still this planet, still this foolish little microcosm, our wish again this year is for peace on earth.