Winter is coming. For some, the cold weather and longer nights are a welcome change. For others, winter is a season fraught with loss. We wear more clothes but feel more naked. Melancholy stops by for a hot cup of tea but shakes her head when it’s time to leave.

For millennia, people have tried to bring a sense of warmth into the darkest, coldest time of year by celebrating the return of the light, and rekindling their connection with friends and family. It’s no accident Christmas is celebrated during winter, though the Bible gives no date for Jesus’ birth. Even Hanukkah — which marks the rededication of a desecrated temple — is celebrated by lighting candles and exchanging gifts.

I like to think The Sun is an ongoing reminder of our connectedness, allowing us to feel joined each month through writing that is affirming, not destructive; that celebrates beauty, not profit; that honors truth, not self-improvement schemes. The Sun isn’t the safest magazine; it’s willing to risk offending some readers by venturing into the “bad” neighborhoods of the psyche, where the stories may seem to lack redemptive power and the language is sometimes crude. Four-letter words show up, and so does that three-letter word God. But for those who struggle with the terror and glory of being human, The Sun might make the ideal holiday gift.

Consider who among your friends would appreciate the kind of connection The Sun offers. Perhaps they’re aspiring writers or photographers. Perhaps they simply love to read good essays and fiction and poetry. Perhaps they’re just perplexed students of the human condition.

We’ve made it easy for you to introduce them to The Sun this year because we’re offering gift subscriptions at half price: one-year subscriptions, usually $34, are available for only $17. (There’s no limit on the number of half-price subscriptions you may order, but please note that you may not renew your own subscription as part of this special offer.)

You may also want to give one of our collections: A Bell Ringing in the Empty Sky: The Best of The Sun; Sunbeams: A Book of Quotations; or Four in the Morning: Essays by Sy Safransky. For a limited time, all books are on sale for 15 percent off the cover price.

This offer expires December 31, 1998, but an early reply will help us process your order more quickly. We’ll send a card announcing your gift. And we’ll bill you later, if you wish.

Whether or not you decide to give The Sun, I hope your holidays are joyous this year. I hope, amidst the whirl of activity, you’re reminded of what truly matters. In this short, mysterious life, is there any greater gift?

Sy Safransky
Editor, The Sun

P.S. You may mail your order to 107 North Roberson Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27516, call us at (919) 942-5282, or fax it to (919) 932-3101.