Greetings! This week I’ve updated a Christmas post from a few years past. It seems more meaningful than ever right now.
Long ago, in the pagan cultures of the far north, work and travel were severely limited by cold and snow as days grew shorter. Farmers and their families would remove a wheel from their carts as a sign of surrender to the great winter deities. They decorated the wheel with evergreen boughs, holly and candles. They prayed to the gods, bargaining really, pointing out that they were sacrificing their mobility as an offering to the Powers that Be, and in exchange all they asked is for the Light to return.
Hey, guess what: it always worked. The Earth would turn, Solstice would dawn, and slowly the days would grow longer.
The irony is that in our modern absurdity, we usually spend December rushing around in gloves and scarves and heavy overcoats, plowing through shopping malls and restaurants, partying like crazy, traveling by plane, train and automobile in dicey weather, willing to brave risks of raging downpours and blizzards, ostensibly to celebrate the birth of the Light of the World. The original pre-Christian reason for marking the season has been forgotten: to rest, to surrender, to take time for soft voices, for quiet, for prayer and meditation. Doesn’t the sky itself, the chill factor, the gathering clouds, offer us a clue?
Years ago, I read a book in which the author joked that it might be most meaningful if we removed a tire (just one) from our Toyotas and Hondas, our SUV’s and minivans, and decorate that as our advent wreath. Would that bring the message home?
This year, during this continuing pandemic, it is a matter of life and death that we pull back and make this season one of contemplation and surrender. Of course, as an introvert, that’s easy for me to say. I know what it’s like to miss loved ones, but if you forgo a holiday gathering this year, it’s more likely you and your family will be healthy and ready to celebrate next year. My wish is for all of us to cobble together a way to experience a bit of that famous “comfort and joy”—SAFELY!!
As for me, I am so happy to bid the most surreal year of my life good-bye!! Don’t let the door hit you on your way out, 2020!!
Wishing you all health, happiness, and better days ahead!
Merry Christmas, Blessed Solstice, Happy Holidays to you all!
Ps—I’m taking a break for a long winter’s nap. See you in January. . .
Photo by Oziel Gomez on Unsplash