The fourteen days preceeding the winter solstice are referred to as Halcyon Days. In ancient times, the belief was that this bird, a kingfisher, nested on the sea, which it calmed in order to lay its eggs on a floating nest. For this reason, the ancients expected the weather to be calm around the winter solstice. Ultimately, the term "halcyon" came to mean calmness or peacefulness.
I mentioned previously that I'm not all that fond of winter. Still, I think these last, short days of the year are a wonderful time to reflect and look forward to lengthening days and more sunshine. I am a Christian, but I observe the solstice as well. I see no conflict here. Rather, it is another way of marking time and remembering to be grateful for all the wonderful gifts we have in the natural world.
photo licenced by david meeker