The Darkest Of Days

winter solstice landscape
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
Happy day, oh fans of the Solstice. It is the shortest day of the year. Here in New York that means sun up at 7:16, down at 4:31.

Days like this make me want to hibernate. Is it possible that the lack of light makes me crave sleep all that much more?

Here in the northern hemisphere people have been throwing parties on this day or pretty close to it for thousands of years. They partied because after today, the days started getting longer again. Ancient Egyptians did, so did the druids.

The old Romans honored Saturn on this day with a festival — Saturnalia — which morphed, thanks to the Church, into Jesus' birthday. Who better to bring light into the world during this darkest time of the year? It's no coincidence either that Hanukah comes now. It is after all, a celebration of light.

Perhaps we are most aware of our need for light on this, the darkest of days. I think if you look for it, you'll find it.
By Harry Smith