Churches Together: Formby, Altcar and Hightown
Formby Nativity

The Shortest Day in Formby

A winter solstice story.

Two years ago the day before the winter solstice I spent the day, unconscious for 10.5 hours, while a team of surgeons, nurses and anaesthetists kept me alive during major surgery.

The day before when I asked the surgeon, "what am I looking at if I don't have the operation", the answer was blunt, "about three months", he said.

There was no choice. But two years later I'm alive, thankful and full of gratitude that I'm able to once again celebrate this year's annual celebration of the death and rebirth of the sun.


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, revelling.

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, feast, give thanks,

And dearly love their friends,

And hope for peace.

And so do we, here, now,

This year and every year.

Welcome, Yule!