Yule, (pronounced EWE-elle, from the Anglo Saxon "yula" or wheel), also known as Solstice Night or Midwinter, falls on the winter solstice somewhere between December 20 and December 23, depending on the astronomical year . This night is the longest of the year, and from this night, forward the days become longer and stronger until Beltaine.
Though this is the longest night of the year, we welcome the beginning of the waxing light with feasting and celebration. Homes are decorated with holly, mistletoe, and evergreen, all symbols of fertility and the continuity of life. The Yule log was central to the festivities, the burning of which was to hurry the return of the Sun. Traditionally the Yule log must be either harvested from ones own land, or given as a gift; never bought. It was then decorated with evergreen and set ablaze with a piece of last year's log which had been kept for just this purpose.
As we contemplate the coming light half of the year, we give thanks for the things that we have, and give aid to those who are alone or in need. This is a time for hope and healing, and for planning for the year ahead. This is also a good time for long term workings for prosperity and happiness with the waxing of the Sun in the year to come.
The Wheel has turned, and one of the Great Mysteries is now realized as the Great Mother Goddess gives birth in a burst of glory to the Bright Son, bringing with him hope and happiness for the burgeoning year.