December 21st was the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. From here on the days will slowly grow longer as the sun returns to a place of prominence in the sky.
Of course, before the sun's promise of warmth and light can be fulfilled, there are still many brutal months of cold, ice, and snow ahead for those of us in the northern portions of the northern hemisphere. For now then, the promise of the light will have to carry us through the long slog towards summer.
As friends and family gathered to celebrate the Solstice at my house last week, one topic on nearly everyone's lips was what a mixed bag the past year's news had been for LGBT people.
We've had a year where the light of freedom and equality grew brighter than we could have imagined when the year began. But it seemed that for every victory won in one place or for one people, others saw the darkness deepen and grow closer.
So as we cling to the promise of summer offered by the returning sun, we have to hold on to the progress we've made, and let it be a promise of a different sort to our communities and our most vulnerable people. A promise that in the year to come, we will work to bring the warmth and hope of equality to those of us who are still huddled against the darkness of oppression.