At this time of year, aside from holiday celebrations, and year end inventories, we also find ourselves at a special point in nature’s cycle, which, it could be argued, are at the basis of it all. Our calendar is based on the time it takes the Earth to make a circuit around the sun. That includes Solstices, which mark when the sun is at the furthest points in its circuit -- like the one coming up just before we celebrate Christmas, on Dec 21st, the is Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, (thought below the Equator is the Summer Solstice.) For those in the depths of winter, it’s the longest night, and marks the return of the sun for longer days ahead. It’s a time of hope, much like the holidays celebrated around this time of year.
Darkness: From the darkness, we look for the light—a change, a shift toward hope. At the end of another year, we may feel tired and weary, looking forward to a vacation, some rest, and some fun. So we watch for a star, or a sleigh, in the night sky.
Light: Winter solstice is nature’s tipping point from dark to light—as days become longer, and light and warmth return. Until then, decorations with candles, colored lights, or roaring fires bring beauty and joy to the darkness, and warmth physically and mentally.
Evergreens: The reminder that life continues, despite bleak appearances that might indicate otherwise.
Gift-Giving: This strengthens the ties that help us survive—part of both the cultural and the spiritual, whether it’s from Santa or from wise men. Feelings of obligation take the joy out of it, if we let it. However, it can also help us recognize how and in whom we invest our energy, and gives us the opportunity to ask ourselves how we can best express our gratitude.
Celebration: Events that give us something to mark the passage of time are necessary for the human psyche. Ecclesiastes 3:1 explains, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Celebration helps us acknowledge energetic turning points in a year—the completion of work, planting, harvesting, weather shifts, important historical anniversaries, and so on.
Redefining: Christmas comes with reminders about who we are. Have we been naughty or nice? Or “Should auld acquaintance be forgot?” Family gatherings may cause us to resist or embrace where we came from. It also inspires us to be our best selves.
Miracles: Unexpected serendipity, from a gift delivered through means that defy physics to a gathering of unlikely strangers, Christmas stories help us remember to believe.
Rest: Animals hibernate, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen!” is sung and we find ourselves grateful for comforts making us feel precious and swaddled in the love of God.
Whatever the themes or symbols, if it makes your heart glow and your spirit soar, let it be your gift to yourself this Christmas!
~ My 2016 News Muse Winter Solstice Message, with content from my article on Unity.org called "Whether Santa or the Birth of Jesus, It's OUR Story"